State agency stalls move by Cancer Treatment Centers to expand reach

Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s bid to attract more Georgia patients was stalled by the state Thursday.

Department of Community Health Commissioner Clyde Reese told the DCH board that his agency received overwhelming opposition to the company’s bid to gain access to more insured patients in Georgia.

The powerful state hospital lobby had worked hard against the change, arguing that CTCA cherry-picks patients with the highest-paying insurance coverage while leaving other hospitals to shoulder the burden of care of Medicaid and other indigent cancer patients.

Some lawmakers also objected, saying the company was doing an end-run around the General Assembly, which had failed to approve changes to the company’s status during the 2015 session.

The proposed rule would have given the hospital a pathway to become a general hospital that isn’t required to have an emergency room. With the new designation, it would no longer have to get most of its patients from out of state. It would also be able to apply, like other hospitals, to expand beyond 50 beds.

The company says the current cap unfairly prevents Georgia patients from getting help at its facility.

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