July 2, 2004 – An ambulatory surgical center with two operating suites has been proposed for St. Thomas. Health Commissioner Darlene Carty is seeking input to help her decide whether there is a need for such a facility.
She is almost certainly going to get input from someone at Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
Rodney E. Miller Sr., the hospital's chief executive officer, said Thursday that "there is no need" for the center.
When asked why the proposal is being made, he answered: "Several individuals see the opportunity to enter into a business enterprise where they stand to gain considerably, financially."
Miller sees Schneider Hospital losing considerably, financially, if the proposal goes through. He estimates that the hospital, which he said is already under financial stress, stands to lose $2.3 million in annual revenues.
The revenue loss would come about, according to Miller, because the surgical center would be providing outpatient, elective surgeries that the hospital already provides. He said these are the surgeries for which patients generally pay. He added that the hospital is mandated to provide emergency services, and often the people who receive those services do not have the ability to pay.
Dr. Keith Callwood, who is assisting the commissioner in the certificate-of-need evaluation process, said Friday that he has not yet received any written input concerning the certificate application, but he has received inquiries about it.
Miller said that the hospital is preparing its document and that it should be submitted next week. The deadline for submitting input to the commissioner's office is July 9.
Carty said Friday that an ad hoc Health Department committee will compile information about the proposal and then make a recommendation to her. She will then approve or disapprove the application.
Copies of the proposal can be reviewed on St. Thomas at the commissioner's office on the fifth floor of Schneider Hospital, the Bureau of Environmental Health offices in the Knud Hansen complex, the administrative offices of the Maternal Child Health and Children with Special Health Care Needs programs in the AQ Building across from Nisky Center and the East End Family Health Center in Tutu Park Mall; and on St. John at the Morris F. De Castro Clinic in Cruz Bay.
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