Piedmont Hospital opposes open heart service in Riverdale
Southern Regional Hospital partnering with Emory to offer open heart surgery nearby
Piedmont Hospital is challenging a rival hospital's bid to offer open heart surgery a short trip outside Fayette County.
Piedmont has filed a formal notice opposing the request from Southern Regional Health System, which needs approval from the Georgia Department of Community Health before it can begin offering open heart surgery at its hospital in Riverdale.
Ron Dodson, chairman of the Southern Regional Board of Directors, claims that Piedmont is putting its business interests "ahead of the health care needs of an underserved population that would clearly benefit from the establishment of a local open heart surgery program.
“Piedmont Hospital’s decision to oppose Southern Regional’s proposal to provide open heart surgical services should be cause for outrage throughout the Southern Crescent. The bottom line here is that a Buckhead hospital wants to dictate to the 850,000 Metro Atlantans who live south of I-20 that they should continue to have to fight their way through Atlanta traffic to receive this critical, life-saving surgery.
Last year more than 500 residents of the southern crescent area had to travel to downtown Atlanta for open heart surgery, Dodson said. Barely a fourth of those patients went to Piedmont Hospital, he added.
“Unlike any other hospital in the Southern Crescent, Southern Regional is in a position to remedy that problem in very short order. We have reached an agreement with Emory Healthcare under which Emory would provide cardiothoracic surgeons and other support to our program. That means we would be able to have some of the finest heart surgeons in the country in our operating rooms on day one. Moreover, we could make needed capital improvements in very short order, and be in a position to launch our program shortly after receiving state approval."
Southern Regional, a not-for-profit community hospital in Riverdale, filed its application for an open heart certificate of need on February 22, 2010. The Department of Community Health is expected to render an initial administrative decision by June 21.