GMC's Open-heart program reinstated

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett Medical Center can move forward with its open-heart surgery program.

The Certificate of Need for GMC's open-heart program has been reinstated as the commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health has reversed the earlier decision of a hearing officer that halted GMC's plans to institute a program at its Lawrenceville campus.

Although the commissioner's decision today gives the green-light for GMC to move forward with its program, further appeals are possible, with parties allowed to seek court review within 30 days.

Gwinnett Medical Center applied for a Certificate of Need for its open-heart program in January 2008 and received approval to move forward from Department of Community Health in June 2008. As part of the state's review process, other hospitals were given an opportunity to file opposition, with Piedmont Hospital, Emory University Hospital and Emory Crawford Long Hospital appealing the DCH's decision. A hearing before a Certificate of Need Appeal Panel hearing officer was held in February in which all parties presented their cases.

The hearing officer then reversed the state's original decision to allow Gwinnett Medical Center to proceed with establishing an open-heart surgery program.