Iowa ophthalmologist receives CON for ASC on 5th try: 5 things to know

Lee Birchansky, MD, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based ophthalmologist received state approval to open an outpatient eye center on his fifth attempt in more than 10 years, according to The Gazette.


Here are five things to know:

1. Iowa requires surgery center owners to obtain a certificate of need before building a center. Dr. Birchansky was denied permission four times by the State Health Facilities Council before finally receiving approval.

2. Dr. Birchansky plans to open the outpatient eye center next to his clinic, Eye Laser & Cosmetic Institute.

3. The CON approval comes one month after Dr. Birchansky joined plaintiffs at the Institute for Justice in Virginia to file a lawsuit against Iowa's CON process, calling it unconstitutional.

4. Dr. Birchansky previously performed his outpatient eye surgeries at a facility he jointly owned with Cedar Rapids-based UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital; however, the hospital left the partnership in 2004 and Dr. Birchansky filed for the CON.

5. When the outpatient center opens, Dr. Birchansky plans to continue performing cataract surgeries at surrounding critical access hospitals where he currently performs procedures.

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