University of Iowa Health Care joined the organizations that have raised concerns over Iowa City, Iowa-based Steindler Clinic's planned $19.2 million ASC, The Gazette reported Jan. 21.
The clinic's 35,800-square-foot ASC would be 1.5 miles from the University of Iowa's $395 million, 469,000-square-foot hospital and clinics.
Earlier this month, the Steindler Clinic resubmitted a previously bumped plan for the ASC. In the new application, the clinic said the ASC will satisfy the area's need for competition, citing University of Iowa Health Care's new hospital and clinic. Many providers took issue with the university's project and accused the project of threatening community healthcare provided by other hospitals.
"The UIHC North Liberty project is clearly targeting the patient population traditionally served by the private practice community in Johnson County," the application said, according to The Gazette. "What payers, patients, the community, and private physicians need, and what this certificate of need application represents, is a choice. That is competition."
In a recent letter to the state, however, University of Iowa Health Care suggested Steindler's ASC would duplicate space provided by its own facilities, according to The Gazette.
"With respect to (Steindler North Liberty Ambulatory Surgery Center), UIHC is concerned that the data presented to date suggest construction of six new ambulatory (operating rooms) would duplicate existing, not fully utilized space at Mercy and (the Iowa City Ambulatory Surgery Center)," the health system wrote, according to The Gazette.
The Steindler North Liberty Ambulatory Surgery Center, now slated for completion in November 2023, also initially faced opposition from Johnson County Surgical Investors and Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center.
The groups sent a letter to the State Health Facilities Council urging it to deny Steindler's certificate of need, saying the project is unnecessary and unlawful because 13 of Steindler's physicians are also part owners of Johnson County Surgical Investors and signed an agreement that prohibits them from working for or investing in a competitor. Steindler sidestepped the agreement by creating two new business entities for the proposal, according to The Gazette.