Last week's decision by state regulators to award Novant Health three operating rooms for a new surgery center in Holly Springs is not sitting well with two hospital systems that submitted competing proposals.
Both WakeMed and Rex Healthcare say they are baffled by the decision to award the ORs to Novant. WakeMed and Rex applied for all three of the ORs, while Duke Raleigh Hospital applied for two of the three.
"I think we had a better application and a better project at a lower capital cost than Novant, so we are very surprised by this decision," said Stan Taylor, WakeMed's vice president of corporate planning.
"We feel fairly strongly that this is not the right decision and that we have a high likelihood of being successful in appealing this decision if we choose to go that route."
WakeMed applied to have the operating rooms at its Cary hospital at the corner of Kildaire Farm and Tryon roads. The hospital currently has nine operating rooms at that location.
Rex applied to have two ORs at its new urgent care center in Holly Springs and one at its Raleigh campus.
Lisa Schiller, a Rex spokesperson, said the hospital is eager to see how regulators justified their decision.
"We're looking for answers on this," she said. "We really don't understand the decision. The facts don't seem to correlate with what the results turned out to be."
Schiller said Rex petitioned the state for the additional operating rooms in Wake. She said the hospital had 54 surgeons support its application.
"It just really, really doesn't add up," she said.
Carla Parker Hollis, vice president of market development and planning for Duke, said she would hold off commenting until she reads how regulators arrived at their decision. Duke applied to have the two operating rooms at its Raleigh hospital.
To control health costs, the state limits medical projects in each county, using patient volume, projected population growth and other factors.
Taylor and Schiller both said WakeMed and Rex haven't decided whether they will appeal. The hospitals have 30 days to appeal the decision.
The Novant surgery center would be the first facility in Wake County for the Winston-Salem hospital chain.
Novant earlier applied to build a $100 million community hospital in the town that would have included 41 beds and four operating rooms.
State regulators rejected the application last year, saying that Novant didn't adequately demonstrate need for a hospital in Holly Springs and that the project might not be cost-effective.