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Proposal for surgery center in Kenai denied

Posted: November 17, 2011 - 9:55am

A proposal to build an ambulatory surgical center in Kenai has been denied by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Kahtnu Ventures, LLC recently filed an application for a certificate of need with the department for an 8,365 square foot “ambulatory surgical center.”

However, that application was denied for “untimely submission of information,” said Karen Lawfer, health and social services planner for the state.

After the public notice phase — which allowed others interested in providing the same service to submit an application for a certificate of need — was completed, the state determined the application was missing information.

The deadline to submit that information was Nov. 9. Lawfer said the state needed to see certified construction cost estimates and bid quotes for equipment from suppliers. Those estimates Kahtnu submitted were not certified, she said.

“We need to have some sort of bid quote or something that we could verify that those would in fact be the estimated costs,” she said.

Lawfer noted there was no required waiting period before Kahtnu could re-apply, potentially for the same project.

According to the previous application, the company planned to build the estimated $8 million facility by spring of 2013 and serve the Kenai and Northern Kenai Peninsula area. Further details about the proposed project haven’t been released to the public.

The proposal caused uncertainty in the local medical community and forced Central Peninsula Hospital officials to examine a counter-proposal. CPH staff performs about 3,000 outpatient surgeries each year and the number of those surgeries that could be taken away as a result of the surgery center would have been influenced on which, and how many surgeons signed on as partners in the venture.

Surgery centers are one of the more profitable areas of healthcare. Former CPH CEO Ryan Smith said he was concerned about the hospital’s ability to fund the parts of the hospital that don’t generate profit if the Kahtnu venture pulled profit away from CPH.

Smith said up to 80 percent of outpatient surgeries are usually pulled from a hospital in areas where a surgery center opens, which would have amounted to about $12 to $18 million in revenue from CPH.

Interim CPH CEO Rick Davis said the Kahtnu denial doesn’t much change the hospital’s approach to the proposal — it will still fight against it.

Davis added those surgeons and people behind Kahtnu are still somewhat of a mystery.

“We don’t even know who Kahtnu Ventures is really, there is nothing online or available anywhere that we have been able to find that lists out who is in Kahtnu Ventures,” he said adding the only listed parties are an Anchorage-based consulting firm, and an attorney in Seattle who set up the LLC. “We kind of know who it is but none of them have admitted it and we don’t have anything in writing.”

Also in the mix are CPH’s plans to open up a fourth surgical operating room, which was previously shelled in at the hospital. At the time of the Kahtnu proposal, CPH submitted a conditional letter of intent to file a competing certificate of need, but it was later determined by the state a CON wasn’t needed for the CPH project.

The fourth operating room addition will likely be taken into account in the calculation of future surgical demand, which could be a foreseeable speed bump for Kahtnu, if the group proposes a similar project.

“It makes it harder for them to make a case for the need for additional space because there is 25 percent more (surgical capacity) than there was yesterday,” Davis said.

 

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witchwitch
51
Points
witchwitch 11/17/11 - 12:09 pm
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Cost of medical care too high ???

So the state decides to LIMIT competition. Looks like another failed government policy that's going to cost consumers people lots of money.

Why should a competitor be denied the opportunity to provide a needed service for our community? What is wrong with competition?

I go OUTSIDE for medical care. Will our state deny my right to do so next?

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 11/19/11 - 05:32 pm
0
0

Uh, really? There is a

Uh, really? There is a permitting process. The company in question didn't follow the published process. Thus, they don't get their permit. They clearly denied themselves of the opportunity. This isn't the state's fault, or did you read the article?

cheapersmokes
278
Points
cheapersmokes 11/20/11 - 12:11 pm
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Surgical Center

I agree with witchwitch above. Why are they denying a firm who wants to spend about 10 million dollars to give some competition to the local health care monopoly? I say let them build and open it up and just maybe we all will see the cost of health services take a dip!

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 11/21/11 - 07:54 am
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So, when the next

So, when the next out-of-towner company rolls in wanting to drill for gas/oil or excavate for coal/gold/horseradishes or whatever, ya'll are fine with skipping the permitting process and just letting them have a stab at it? After all, it will be competition for other local businesses, which will drive the price down, right? As long as the consumer gets a good deal. Let's bring in more Wal-Mart operations and to heck with the local business owners! Yeah, it will be great. All those minimum wage jobs to replace the decent ones we have now (spread the wealth, er mediocrity, ya know). All those "excess profits" heading back to the company's mothership. Brilliant.

Diane Fielden
0
Points
Diane Fielden 11/21/11 - 11:05 am
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Proposal for surgery center in Kenai denied

CPH has made it very clear, the want no competition what so ever. They have been buying up Doctors and Specialest and threatnening any who object to them. Watch out, they mean to keep their MONOPOLY ON HEALTCARE regardless of the needs of our commuity. This is not a big company taking out a Mom and Pop business, this is about CPH not allowing any competition in their back yard. I hope the Surgical center trys again and keeps tring until they get the CON approved

witchwitch
51
Points
witchwitch 11/21/11 - 11:32 am
0
0

CPH's monopoly does not benefit the consumer...

Cry as you will in support of "process", the real process is that the CPH will operate without competition. Such "permitting" is not a healthy use of government power, unless you measure the benefits by exclusively looking at CPH's bottom line, without regard for the cost to local consumers.

The CON process (Certificate of Need), is not in the best interest of the people that it claims to serve. It's another government rule designed to benefit special interests against the best interests of local consumers. Nothing new there...

JOAT
487
Points
JOAT 11/21/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0

What monopoly?

Check the phone book folks. CPH is NOT the only healthcare provider in town. You have dozens of choices of where to spend your healthcare money. There's also 3 major hospitals in Anchorage, in addition to dozens more smaller clinics, all ready to compete for your healthcare dollars. Shop around. It's no different than buying a new car.
If you think the permit process is flawed, then work to change it. The law is the law and we are a society of laws. You don't get to pick and choose which ones to follow on a daily basis.

Diane Fielden
0
Points
Diane Fielden 11/21/11 - 08:30 pm
0
0

Medical choices

Yes, there are many healthcare options. We have a large group of Dr.'s who have dedicated many years of their lives to our community. We have A Federal Qualified Health Center right in Soldotna, less than 1 mile from the Hospital. What is CPH doing? Building their own Health Center. Why is it different for CPH to build a competitive Clinic but not ok for Another Business to be building a competitive Surgery Center? Just more double talk! Anchorage Hospitals are fine, but not for those who would like family around for support. Guess it's in the eye of the beholden.

colonialpast
56
Points
colonialpast 12/16/11 - 11:33 am
0
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Remember the Community

Remember the community guys. CPH does a lot good for the community...for example, helping those out who can't afford healthcare, donating lots a food to the food bank and local families in need...and much much more. I was in the cafeteria one day and a family of three was going to pay for their food and came up short...CPH didn't even hesitate to take of their meals and the reason was b/c they are a community hospital. If another surgical center opens CPH may no longer be able to fund those local community projects. So, remember there is a lot more to consider than just competetive healthcare cost...like State Farms saids...the cheaper way is NOT necessarily the best way. Keep in mind the community stands to loose a lot more than they think in this.

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