Emory Eastside plans to file CON for beds

SNELLVILLE - Emory Eastside Medical Center announced Friday plans to file a Certificate of Need to expand the medical center's number of licensed beds.

Hospital Associate Administrator Dustin Greene said filing for the state certificate is part of the hospital's long-term growth and expansion plan. He said this is just the beginning of a plan to meet the "comprehensive health care needs of the community."

Greene said the goal is to build out an existing corridor of the fourth floor of the medical center and add 10 beds to the Orthopedic Spine Unit, expanding capacity for total joint patients.

"This is nothing new service wise," Greene said. "We're just expanding what we already have."

The hospital hopes to file for state approval no later than Feb. 1. Greene said if all goes well construction could begin in early May.

A week ago, hospital officials said they had plans to file a request for another change - open heart surgery status.

While no official documents had been filed Jan. 15, medical center spokeswoman Sheila Adcock said at the time the hospital had been "looking into" filing for state approval.

In the same release announcing plans for the 10-bed expansion certificate, officials said there are "no plans to apply for a cardiovascular surgery Certificate of Need at this time."

But in a letter previously acquired by the Post, Emory Eastside Interim Chief Executive Officer Greg Caples solicits support in bringing open heart to the hospital.

The letter, dated Jan. 2, stated the hospital's partner, Emory Healthcare, was "embarking on the mission of bringing Open Heart Surgery to Gwinnett County" with the goal of working "together to form a high quality Open Heart Program convenient to all Gwinnett County residents as well as others in neighboring counties."

Caples was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Greene declined to answer questions concerning why plans were now a no-go and would not say if the hospital had any future plans of filing for open heart surgery status.

"We're carefully studying what our needs are and we're focused on the growth of our existing space," Greene said. "I'm not going to speak to the long term."