Behind the opposition to 3 ASCs

This year, three ASCs, two of which have been cleared for construction, faced opposition from a variety of players. 

The parties opposing the three centers: 

1. Local residents

A $67 million medical complex with an ASC under construction in Amherst, N.Y., is facing criticism from the town's residents.The 163,000-square foot project is tied to UBMD Physicians' Group and Kaleida Health, both based in Buffalo, N.Y.

Residents told The Buffalo News that negotiations surrounding the project were unfavorable to taxpayers, and that they are worried the complex is taking away park space and displacing young athletes. Specifically, they are concerned the town will have to spend millions to build new football, softball and baseball fields that are being eliminated by the development, according to the report. 

"In Amherst, kids and taxpayers keep losing, while developers reap the benefits," resident Mary Wood told The Buffalo News. 

Supporters of the project said the center will generate enough revenue for the town to build new fields in Amherst. 

2. Competing ASCs and hospitals

In July, Heart & Vascular Institute of Alabama was cleared to build a single-specialty ASC in Montgomery after facing opposition from other hospitals and ASCs in the area. The project faced more than a year of opposition from other providers, including the Healthcare Authority for Baptist Health; Prattville, Ala.-based Jackson Hospital & Clinic; and Jackson Surgery Center. After an administrative law judge twice recommended denying approval, the judge recommended the project June 29, and the certificate of need review board approved the application July 22. 

The providers who opposed the project said it will lead to an "unnecessary duplication of services." Baptist South already has three cardiac catheterization labs, according to documents presented by the opposing providers, and has seen a decline in outpatient catheterization cases in the last three years. The opposing providers also expressed concern that the ASC would shift resources and revenue away from hospitals. 

3. Health systems

Mobile, Ala.-based USA Health on May 24 broke ground on a 25,000-square-foot surgery center in Fairhope, Ala. Mobile-based Infirmary Health, the state's largest nonprofit health system, challenged the certificate of need board's unanimous decision to approve the ASC last year. Infirmary Health operates Bay Eyes Surgery Center in Fairhope and Thomas Hospital in Daphne, about 4 miles from the USA Health ASC. 

The $20 million ASC will be next to a 50,000-square-foot physician office building that is expected to be completed this fall. The surgery center, projected to open next spring, will have six operating rooms, two procedure rooms, 14 pre-op areas and 13 recovery rooms.

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