You may have seen an article in this morning’s edition of The State newspaper regarding LMC’s heart program. Since I’ve heard that some people were confused by the article’s headline, I wanted to provide some clarification.
LMC’s heart program has been very successful in terms of quality, patient satisfaction and volume. This year, our team will perform more than 300 open heart surgeries. As the program has been very successful, we felt the need to add capacity to care for the increasing number of patients who choose to rely on our physicians and facilities.
Last year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced a “suspension” of the Certificate of Need (CON) program because the governor and the legislature did not fund the program. DHEC advised LMC and other providers to proceed with needed projects during the “suspension” of CON. Projects that were undertaken would still require a license from DHEC.
At the time, LMC operated two heart cath labs and one open heart surgery suite. LMC had the need for an additional cath lab and an additional open heart surgery suite. LMC requested and DHEC approved licensure for an additional cath lab and an additional open heart surgery suite. With DHEC’s approval, we began to use the rooms to provide care for our patients last year.
Providence Hospital filed a lawsuit asking that LMC not be allowed to use the new rooms to care for our patients. Eventually, a judge ruled that DHEC should not have granted the licenses without having already approved a CON for them.
What does this mean for LMC’s heart program? LMC will comply with the judge’s ruling and discontinue operating the rooms that were added until LMC receives a CON to do so, or until the CON law is reformed or repealed.
We will continue to operate the previously existing cath labs and open heart surgery suite, and our Duke-affiliated heart program will continue to thrive and provide great care for our patients.
President & CEO
Lexington Medical Center