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Physicians Endoscopy, GI Partners to Open Greater Gaston Center in North Carolina: 5 Key Points

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The Greater Gaston Center could open in Gastonia, N.C., in December or earlier, according to a Gaston Gazette report. Here are five things to know about the new endoscopy center.

1. The GI-driven ambulatory surgery center will have two endoscopy rooms. The center is a joint venture between Physicians Endoscopy and five gastroenterologists: Sam Drake, MD, Khaled Elraie, MD, Nelson Forbes, MD, William Watkins, MD, and Austin Osemeka, MD. Physicians Endoscopy operates more than 30 facilities in 13 states.

2. The physicians initially filed a certificate of need application in 2010 and received conditional state approval in 2011. The project is only now coming close fruition, due to an extended legal battle. The nearby CaroMont Health filed an appeal claiming the new endoscopy center would be a financial detriment. During the time the Greater Gaston Center remained in dispute, CaroMont opened its own endoscopy center in Belmont, N.C. After three years, the North Carolina Court of Appeals denied CaroMont's claim, allowing the Greater Gaston joint venture project to move forward.

3. After the court's decision was made, Physicians Endoscopy and its physician partners sought to create a partnership agreement with CaroMont. "Our thought was we could all work together to have a single outpatient center right next to the hospital, as opposed to one 10 miles away [in Belmont]. We felt it would be a great opportunity to work with their doctors in a collaborative fashion with our independent physicians," said Physicians Endoscopy CEO Barry Tanner in the report. CaroMont declined the partnership proposal.

4. Mr. Tanner expects that the endoscopy center will not remain independent. "I fully expect we will be partnered with a hospital system in the area at some point," he said in the report.

5.  The endoscopy center is expected to earn licensing and accept patients by December. Depending on the timeline for construction, the center could open earlier, according to the report.

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