Novant Health quits Fort Mill hospital fight

lruebens@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 3, 2013 

— After battling for nearly 10 years over the rights to build a hospital in Fort Mill, Novant Health has bowed out of the fight, which leaves just Carolinas HealthCare System and Tenet Healthcare Corp. to contest the fate of the proposed facility.

Novant Health, which runs Presbyterian Hospital, announced last week that it is withdrawing its opposition to the Fort Mill hospital’s certificate of need ruling, which was awarded to CHS in 2011. Both Novant and Tenet had considered appealing the ruling. Health care providers need a certificate of need to be able to build or expand a medical facility.

In a memo to Novant Health employees, President and CEO Carl Amato said he believed it is in York County’s best interest that Novant be taken out of the bidding.

“Hopefully, our actions will allow the growing community to move forward more quickly with a much-needed hospital,” Amato wrote.

He said he appreciated the support over the years for a Novant hospital in Fort Mill, adding that more than 10,000 York County residents, doctors and community leaders endorsed Novant.

Instead, Amato said Novant will “focus (its) resources toward providing care to York County residents through (its) existing facilities and physician practices.”

South Carolina regulators determined in 2004 that Fort Mill needed a 64-bed hospital. Tenet initially won the bid to build a hospital in 2006, but CHS and Novant appealed.

An administrative judge ordered state regulators to reopen the applications, essentially starting the process over.

In September 2011, CHS was given the sought-after certificate of need. It is unclear if Tenet will still pursue an appeal.

Fast-growing northern York County is coveted territory for CHS, which stands to gain millions of dollars in revenue. The $77.5 million Carolinas Medical Center-Fort Mill would be built near I-77 and Sutton Road.

Ruebens: 704-358-5294; On Twitter: @lruebens

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