Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gwinnett Medical Center Submits Objections to Appeal of Open Heart Decision

By: Andrea Wehrmann

Ruling Anticipated by July 17, 2009

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. –Gwinnett Medical Center submitted a filing addressing errors in the state hearing officer's decision which could prevent the hospital from establishing a desperately needed open heart surgical program within the county.  The filing was submitted to the state’s Department of Community Health (DCH), and requests that the Commissioner reinstate the initial decision granting a Certificate of Need to establish an open heart program.  It is anticipated that the DCH Commissioner will make a final administrative decision by July 17, 2009. 


“We believe the Department’s original approval of an open heart program at GMC was the correct decision,” said Phil Wolfe, President and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center.  “This filing counters points cited in the appeal decision, and will hopefully clear the way for us to bring this critical service to the people of Gwinnett.”


Gwinnett Medical Center applied for a Certificate of Need for its open heart program in January 2008 and received approval from the Department of Community Health in June 2008.  Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital and Piedmont Hospital all appealed the approval, and a hearing officer granted the appeal last month.  Following the DCH Commissioner’s final administrative ruling, further appeals are possible as the Certificate of Need process allows parties to seek court review within 30 days of the final administrative decision.


 “While we look forward to ultimately securing open heart through the administrative appeal process, GMC is prepared to seek judicial review if necessary,” added Wolfe.  “If the commissioner reinstates our approval, we would hope that Piedmont and Emory would not further delay our program by seeking judicial review.”


About Gwinnett Medical Center
Now celebrating the 25th anniversary of its flagship campus, Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network providing award-winning healthcare services to the Gwinnett community and beyond. Campuses in both Duluth and Lawrenceville provide acute care, outpatient services, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services. Digital imaging is the standard of care at all GMC facilities including the newest imaging center in north Gwinnett's Hamilton Mill area. In 2008, GMC's 4,300 associates and 800 physicians served more than 400,000 patients. Gwinnett Medical Center's incredible vision for the future is Project PATH - planning, advancing and transforming healthcare. To learn more, visit

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