In CON tussle, Georgia county commission opposes Erlanger's claims, for now — 6 insights

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System and Chattanooga-based CHI Memorial Hospital are in the midst of a regulatory battle to receive approval to build their own surgery centers on opposite sides of a street in Ringgold, Ga., and for now the Catoosa County Commission is siding with CHI, the Times Free Press reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. Erlanger Health System is attempting to build a surgery center a half mile away from where CHI Memorial Health is trying to build its own surgery center.

2. The tussle started Nov. 15, 2017, when CHI Memorial finalized plans to purchase an abandoned surgery building for $4.5 million. The health system believes when it purchased the property it inherited its dormant CON. The system began interior renovation work.

3. Erlander applied for its own CON for a surgery center on the other side of the street Nov. 29. The health system argues the CON associated with the abandoned surgery building expired because no physician had worked at the center since 2015. The health system argues because the CON expired, it should be allowed a chance to "stake its claim."

4. CHI Memorial is also in the midst of applying for a new certificate to nullify Erlanger's argument all together.

5. As the health systems wait to hear from the Georgia Department of Community Health on its ultimate decision, the Catoosa County Commission unanimously voted to file a letter of opposition against Erlanger. The county could withdraw the letter before the health department's meeting, but Commissioner Bobby Winters does not believe it'll do so.

He said to the Times Free Press, "We ain't gonna let Erlanger come," while reaffirming the sentiment that CHI Memorial's investment in North Georgia shows a commitment to the community.

6. The Georgia Department of Community Health has yet to set a date for a hearing on the issue.

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