by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
Can someone please remind me again why we need to be having this debate and why the state needs to be involved? Novant Health and EmergeOrtho each want to build a new operating room in Leland, a small town in Brunswick County not far from Wilmington. Dosher Memorial Hospital, also in Brunswick County, doesn’t want either of them to build it. The State of North Carolina has to decide whether it’s built at all and, if so, who gets to build it.
And it’s all because of Certificate of Need (CON) laws, which my colleague, Katherine Restrepo, has written about time and time again. Because no one can build an operating room unless a CON is issued, and then competing groups have to submit plans for the specifics, from which the state chooses. And it doesn’t even stop there because, as in this case, a competitor like Dosher can object and attempt to stop the whole thing altogether.
Navant and EmergeOrtho both operate in the Leland area, so they know more about the need there than the state does. They’re also the ones who would be responsible for actually building, using, and maintaining any operating room they decided to build. Why on earth should they need the state to get mixed up in the whole thing?
We don’t need the state to tell us how many Chinese restaurants or swimming pools or car dealerships a particular area needs. We don’t need them to tell us when to build an operating room, either.