Wilson medical facilities growing
Wilson County's ongoing development boom continues to attract a broad
spectrum of business, including a pair of medical facilities - one of
which has already received state approval to establish a local presence.
The first major development scheduled to break ground at the bustling
Mt. Juliet Road-Interstate 40 intersection will likely be a
50,000-square-foot outpatient diagnostic center which received a certificate of need license from the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency in late May.
Doctors with Tennessee Sports Medicine and Orthopedics said their practice
received a certificate of need for a magnetic resonance imaging or open
MRI facility at the Mt. Juliet Crossing development just off I-40.
The development is the companion to the larger Providence and Providence
Marketplace residential and commercial project just across Mt. Juliet Road.
Both developments appear ready to begin an explosion of growth at the intersection.
The new medical facility is scheduled for an August groundbreaking,officials said.
Dr. Greg White said the facility will include a college lecture-style hall
for the practice¹s partnership with Cumberland University, allowing the
school to have an off-campus site for the study of sports medicine.
"We're allowing them to utilize us as an off-campus resource and training
facility," White said. "It's our goal to have an area dedicated for
athletic and sports medicine endeavors. There will be a library and media area
for conferences. It will be a lecture hall similar to when you go to a
conference in a hotel."
White noted that his practice likely received the certificate of need
due to the backing from the larger Wilson County community, noting West Wilson County presently does not have such a facility. He added that both
Cumberland University President Dr. Harvill Eaton and Wilson County
Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan offered letters endorsing the effort to the state.
"We had community support," White said. "The community here knows us."
Tennessee Sports Medicine and Orthopedics also includes longtime Wilson Countian Dr. Bob Kaelin and Dr. Richard Fishbein.
Unlike the Mt. Juliet facility, a similar facility proposed for the
City of Lebanon was denied a certificate of need by state officials in the face of local opposition as well as existing state statutes.
According to the health services and development agency's May 26 agenda, an application for a certificate of need was submitted for the Lebanon facility
a 3,000-square-foot project that was proposed for the intersection of
Franklin Road and South Hartmann Drive.
Plans called for the facility to include an outpatient diagnostic
center, an MRI unit and to provide outpatient MRI services. Several local
businesses and individuals were listed on the agenda as being in "opposition" to those plans, including University Medical Center, Lebanon Special School
District, Roger Farley, Robert Callis, Radiology & Nuclear Medicine Associates
P.C. and a twice-weekly Lebanon newspaper.
And while Farley a member of UMC¹s governing board and an administrator
with Toshiba America Consumer Products Inc. said the proposal for the Lebanon facility was made by a Nashville hospital corporation, he insisted
opposition to the plans was not related to competition between the medical
In a statement released Monday, UMC Chief Executive Officer Mark W. Crawford
explained the Lebanon hospital opposed the certificate of need for the facility "because the medical needs of the community are now being met
by the current MRI machines already in service."
Guidelines set forth by the state, he explained, limit the number of MRI
machines to four per every 100,000 residents.
"Wilson County currently has three machines in operation, and a certificate
of need for a fourth machine was approved in September 2003 for UMC's
Outpatient Diagnostic Imaging Center to be constructed in 2005," Crawford
said. "As stated at the Health Services and Development Agency hearing,
the state denied the (certificate) because it would not be acting responsibly to do otherwise."
A call to Health Services and Development Agency General Counsel Reid
Brogden was not immediately returned Monday.
Farley, as well as LSSD Director Andy Brummett, also said he believed an
influx of multiple MRI centers would ultimately have a negative impact on
the cost of related procedures for the people of Wilson County. Like Crawford, Farley noted UMC had previously acquired a certificate of need for
a fourth MRI facility here a facility which is "just being set up
"For this community, it would just be an overabundance of services," Farley
commented. "When you don't have one completely established that has
already been approved and then try to bring more in on top of that I don¹t
think it would have benefited that new group that much."
"It tends to be that (the proposed facility) would have to have x - amount
of usage or the cost of each usage goes up so that they can afford it,"
Brummett, a member of UMC's Community Advisory Board, added. "As you
start duplicating services, in order for that thing to make money, they'd
have to charge more for it."
As competition between multiple MRI centers led to lower prices, Farley
explained employees of the facilities would likely earn lower wages.
Thus, he said, local centers would not have "as high a level of professionals."
"The need just doesn¹t seem like it's there. Now, as the community grows, I
think everyone has to step back and look at it, but at this point, it
would be like placing three more McDonald's within a half-mile on West Main(Street)," Farley said. "It¹s not a local hospital versus a Nashville
hospital. It's appropriate services for the local community and
providing the highest level of services without spreading it out so."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer may be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by
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