Alabama system campaigns against competitor's proposed surgery center

Mobile, Ala.-based USA Health's plans to build a medical complex and surgery center on donated land worth $2 million are being challenged by Mobile-based competitor Infirmary Health, local NBC affiliate WPMI reported Oct. 15.

This summer, a week after USA Health announced its plans to build a medical complex with an outpatient surgery center in Fairhope, Ala., Infirmary Health President and CEO Mark Nix wrote a letter of opposition to the state.

In it, he said USA Health's surgery center would have a "detrimental impact" on the finances of Thomas Hospital, an Infirmary-owned facility four miles from the proposed site, and that the county has sufficient access to outpatient surgery.

"I don't think it's going to have a detrimental effect. I think it's going to be complementary," USA Health CEO Owen Bailey said in an interview with WPMI.

A judge is expected to review the dispute during a two-week administrative hearing scheduled to begin in mid-October.

If USA Health doesn't receive a certificate of need for its surgery center — which is integral to the project, according to Mr. Bailey — it plans to move forward with the medical complex, offering primary and specialty care there.

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