Georgia hospital claims state health commissioner ignored surgery center's unauthorized expansion

Brunswick-based Southeast Georgia Health System filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Community Health, state Health Commissioner Frank Berry and representatives of Premier Surgery Center alleging the state didn't review the surgery center's 2003 expansion, Law360 reports.

Brunswick-based Premier Surgery Center added a third operating room in 2003. The center did not acquire a certificate of need. Southeast Georgia alleged that Mr. Berry and his department ignored their duty to enforce Georgia's CON law, established in 1979, and that in turn has caused the hospital to lose business.

Premier has operated in Georgia since 1975. Its two operating rooms were grandfathered in to the CON law. Southeast Georgia claims the grandfather exemption only applied to its existing operating rooms and not to new expansions. The health system argued Premier should've applied for a CON for its third operating room.

The health department told Southeast that it gave Premier an occupancy permit for the additional room in March.

The health system is seeking a ruling to issue a cease and desist to the surgery center for its third operating room.

A legal representative for the surgery center was not made available to Law360 at the time of publication.

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