St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO: CON loophole fueling health system opposition to Kentucky ASC

Kentucky-based St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO Garren Colvin spoke with NKyTribune about the health system's primary reason for opposing Cincinnati-based The Christ Hospital's certificate-of-need application to build an ASC in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

In June, a Kentucky administrative law judge approved The Christ Hospital's application, sparking St. Elizabeth Healthcare to appeal the decision in Franklin Circuit Court.

The crux of the health system's argument for opposing the ASC centers around a loophole in the CON process that a state administration created a couple years ago.

He said, "It is important to note that 100 percent of the hospitals in the state of Kentucky were opposed to the language that was put in and only one hospital has applied for an ASC using that language."

The health system has faced some backlash over its opposition, as many claim it already has a strong foothold in Northern Kentucky. Mr. Colvin said the healthcare system "will take the high road" and not speak out publicly.

The Christ Hospital and those in favor say the ASC will increase competition, which would benefit patients in Northern Kentucky. Mr. Colvin countered that argument, telling NKyTribune, "When 70 percent of our customers are fixed payer because it's either Medicare, Medicaid or self-pay, then that (competition) doesn't allow us to raise prices in areas that aren't government payers... If I'm trying to convince you that competition is not always good it takes me five minutes and I'm in the weeds on a lot of stuff that the average consumer doesn’t always care about. "

NKyTribune reached out to The Christ Hospital and CEO Mike Keating for comment through a hospital spokesperson. The spokesperson did not provide a comment.

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