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Summit CEO speaks on new Lebanon center
Feb 03, 2005 12:00 am
Nearly one-third of Summit Medical Center employees and a growing number of its patients reside in Wilson County – a driving factor behind the hospital's planned expansion into Lebanon, Summit's top administrator said Tuesday.
"We wanted to do what we could to bring our services to you. There are a lot of folks who do travel from Wilson County … to come and see us," Summit CEO Jeff Whitehorn said.
The HCA-owned hospital has secured 14 acres off of the new Hartmann Drive Interchange and plans to build a "Wilson County outpatient services project" on the property, Whitehorn said as he addressed Lebanon Noon Rotarians Tuesday.
He added the project will likely fall within the $18 million to $20 million range.
"We want to build space for physicians who would like to be in that building. We'd like to be able to provide urgent care and have an ambulatory surgery center in there as well as outpatient diagnostics," Whitehorn explained.
He noted the planned ambulatory surgery center will require Summit to obtain a certificate of need from the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency. Hospital officials have said the agency might consider the certificate of need request at their Feb. 23 meeting.
Last year, an unidentified Nashville-based hospital sought to establish an imaging center in the same area but failed to receive the required certificate of need due to opposition from University Medical Center (UMC), a local weekly newspaper and representatives from the local business community.
Should Summit receive the state-issued certificate, Whitehorn said he believes any competition between Summit and UMC would benefit all involved.
"I think UMC does a very good job in running that hospital. Certainly, we look at it as there is competition, and if that is the case, what we've always seen where we have been is that the quality goes up. People don't have to travel as far. People are able to get care much closer," he said. "So you really see a community very pleased with something like that."
Often times, Whitehorn continued, the construction of a hospital has an "economic multiplier effect" as it generally draws restaurants and other retail businesses to the area.
"Not only does it give someone a choice when it comes to their health care, but it also gives economic opportunities. There are huge tax benefits … when it comes to property taxes and sales tax," he said.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.