Iowa clinic's $19.2M ASC application goes forward without hospital backing

Iowa City, Iowa-based Steindler Orthopedic Clinic and an unnamed hospital system bumped their joint plan to build an ASC, but the $19.2 million ASC proposal will proceed without the hospital for now, The Gazette reported Jan. 10. 

In the fall, the project was postponed to February after the unnamed hospital system approached the clinic about a partnership. The parties couldn't agree on details in time for the February meeting, and the Steindler Clinic resubmitted its application for the 35,800-square-foot ASC only.

The new ASC will satisfy the area's need for competition, the application said, citing University of Iowa Health Care's construction of a $395 million hospital 1.5 miles from the Steindler ASC. Many providers took issue with the university's project and accused the project of threatening community healthcare provided by other hospitals. 

"The UIHC North Liberty project is clearly targeting the patient population traditionally served by the private practice community in Johnson County," the application said, according to The Gazette. "What payers, patients, the community, and private physicians need, and what this certificate of need application represents, is a choice. That is competition." 

The ASC, now slated for completion in November 2023, also initially received opposition from Johnson County Surgical Investors and Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center. 

The groups sent a letter to the State Health Facilities Council urging it to deny Steindler's certificate of need, saying the project is unnecessary and unlawful because 13 of Steindler's physicians are also part owners of Johnson County Surgical Investors and signed an agreement that prohibits them from working for or investing in a competitor. Steindler sidestepped the agreement by creating two new business entities for the proposal, according to The Gazette. 


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