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The Christ Hospital gets CON approval for $24 m Ft. Mitchell surgery center, St. Elizabeth will appeal

NKyTribune staff

A Kentucky administrative law judge has ruled in favor of The Christ Hospital’s certificate of need (CON) application for a $24 million surgery center in Fort Mitchell.


The decision clears the way for construction of The Christ Hospital Surgery Center-Fort Mitchell as part of a development on the site of the former Drawbridge Inn.

“Today’s ruling will provide consumers and our patients with more healthcare options. We now will be able to extend our exceptional surgical care in the areas of orthopedics, urology and gynecology to the residents of Northern Kentucky,” The Christ Hospital President and CEO, Mike Keating said in a statement.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which opposed the application, has indicated it will appeal the decision. St. Elizabeth CEO Garren Colvin issued the following statement:

“We are obviously disappointed in the decision. We will pursue the appropriate appeals process. Our challenge will be directed to the loophole created by the previous administration that has already been removed from the state health plan.


Christ Hospital recommended the new language and waited for this loophole to be in place before it applied for a Certificate of Need. We’ll let the next process play out. We remain the most committed healthcare partner that Northern Kentucky has and will continue to support our community and work to make it one of healthiest in America.”

For a detailed explanation of St. Elizabeth’s opposition to the CON, click here.

In August, 2015 the CON Ambulatory Surgery Center review criteria was amended, over the objection of hospitals in the state of Kentucky. The amendment allowed outside entities to perform procedures without specific identification and it was during this window that Christ Hospital submitted its application. In September, 2016, the criteria, which Colvin refers to as “the loophole,” was restored to its previous wording.

The Christ Hospital issued the following statement regarding the decision:

Northern Kentucky residents will have access to more healthcare options as a result of today’s approval of The Christ Hospital Health Network’s Certificate of Need (CON) application.

With approval from the Kentucky Office of Health Policy, The Christ Hospital was granted approval to move forward with construction of an ambulatory surgery center on the site of the former Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell, KY. The project will include a free standing emergency department, outpatient surgical services, diagnostic center and access to the most preferred physicians in the region. This is in addition to the clinical and diagnostic services we currently provide at our Fort Wright medical center and our other locations in Northern Kentucky.

According to (Cheryl Neff) the Administrative Law Judge for the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, “Christ Hospital’s proposed ASC [ambulatory surgery center] is cost-effective because it will provide another safety net provider for ASC surgeries in the NKYADD [Northern Kentucky Area Development District, which includes eight Northern Kentucky counties], which will strengthen the ability of low-income and Medicaid patients in the NKYADD to receive the medical care they need; and maintaining the status quo would not be a more effective and economical use of resources because NKYADD patients are underserved for outpatient surgery in the medical specialty areas of orthopedics, gynecology, urology, urinary, and neurovascular. There is an increasing number of Kentucky residents using Christ Hospital’s services, which demonstrates a need for Christ Hospital to increase access for its own patients, having a lower cost alternative for outpatient surgery would increase access to ASC services in the NKYADD, and there is currently an out-migration of NKYADD patients to Ohio and other areas for outpatient surgery demonstrating a need to provide increased access to ASC services within the NKYADD.”

The ambulatory surgery center will anchor the Fort Mitchell Gateway Project, a mixed-use project developed by Northern Kentucky-based Brandicorp which will include a hotel, restaurants, retail businesses and multi-family units. The development site, which is conveniently located at the crossroads of Buttermilk Pike and I-75, will create jobs, generate tax revenue and provide economic development in Northern Kentucky.

“Today’s ruling will provide consumers and our patients with more healthcare options. We now will be able to extend our exceptional surgical care in the areas of orthopedics, urology and gynecology to the residents of Northern Kentucky,” said The Christ Hospital President and CEO, Mike Keating.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com


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  1. Marv Dunn says:

    Good to see someone chipping away at the St. E. monopoly.

  2. Jack Combs says:

    Agree, 100%.

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