Application: Blessing surgical center needed to compete with QMG center

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 11, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The application the Blessing Health System submitted to state regulators for the construction of a new ambulatory surgical treatment center stresses the need to be able to compete with the surgical center Quincy Medical Group is opening in the Quincy Mall.

The application filed June 28 with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Board said if Blessing continued to operate a surgical center at 1118 Hampshire in a facility owned by QMG, who will offer competitive service nearby, it will compromise the hospital's ability to compete and generate revenue to support safety net services.

"Operating a competing service in the competitor's building puts Blessing at a disadvantage of being able to differentiate its services and compete fairly," Blessing said, adding it is dependent upon QMG to set the hours it can be in the building.

Blessing plans for the $21 million, two-story 36,000-square-foot building to be built in the area that currently houses the physician parking lot, which is bordered by 11th and Spring. It would house three operating rooms and three procedure rooms.

The new building would be connected to the main hospital building by a sky bridge.

The project is tentatively scheduled to go before the board at its Sept. 17 meeting. If approved, it could open in January 2022.

Quincy Medical Group received approval from the state board in April to open a $20 million surgical center in the space formerly occupied by Bergner's.

Though not specifically addressing Blessing Hospital's plans, a statement issued Wednesday by QMG said its Cancer Institute and Surgery Center is well underway and that throughout QMG's certificate of need process, "the community's desire for competition and better pricing was very clear.

"I am really proud of how we've maximized every square food of our Maine Street campus, and with our continued success with physician recruitment and focus on innovation, we look forward to utilizing the space to be vacated in the current Ambulatory Surgery Center to support our growth without having to secure additional space or spend precious health care dollars on new construction," said QMG CEO Carol Brockmiller.

Blessing said in its application that it sought a joint venture for a surgical center with QMG in February and April, but QMG officials declined proposals. It also noted that testimony before the board in support of QMG's center aggressively promoted competition for improving health care and lower costs.

Based on projections from Blessing, it believes that it will meet the state standard of 9,000 hours of operating room and procedure room procedure utilization in the proposed facility's second year of operation.