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Competitors submit need for standalone ER in Mount Holly

Carolinas HealthCare System and CaroMont are each vying to put up a free-standing emergency facility in Mount Holly. WFAE's Simone Orendain reports: The two parent companies of major hospital systems in the Charlotte region sent their Certificate of Need proposals in time for a Friday deadline last week. The proposed $16.5 million Carolinas Medical Center ER would have eight treatment beds, diagnostic imaging such as CAT scans and x-rays and laboratory services. Carolinas HealthCare Executive Vice President Dennis Phillips says it wants to build in Mount Holly because Gaston County residents already use CMC medical facilities rather than Gaston Memorial facilities. "Within our five mile range of the service area of this facility over 30 percent of those patients have chosen Carolina HealthCare facilities in the past. And if you go to the eastern part of the service area, it's 60 percent," says Phillips. CaroMont owns Gaston Memorial Hospital, which first sought approval for a stand alone emergency department in Mount Holly in October. That proposed $22 million facility would have 12 treatment rooms, laboratory services and CAT scan services. The state Certificate of Need department rejected the request in March. The department's documents on the request say Gaston Memorial didn't adequately demonstrate that it would serve the needs of the population, nor that it would be cost effective. Phillips says he didn't think Carolinas HealthCare opposed the first CaroMont proposal. But the Certificate of Need office confirms CHS raised objections to the proposal. A CaroMont spokeswoman says the first proposal is under appeal. She says because of this she could not give specifics on the second proposal only that it's similar. Public records show the second proposal would cost $24.2 million. A Certificate of Need analyst says the State Medical Facilities Plan does not include a need for stand alone emergency services. This means the competing proposals will have to clearly demonstrate the need. It's highly unlikely the state would approve two standalone ER's in Mount Holly.