Here is a link to an interview done recently with the television station, WSB, Atlanta. Having discovered that folks from Georgia were traveling to Oklahoma City for their surgery, the crew at the station decided to film their story at our facility. Dr. Gallup, also interviewed for the story, interviewed me recently and I will post these podcasts soon.
As you listen to the poor fellow from the Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) whine about what this new competitive environment means for him and his pals, keep in mind that Georgia is one of the states with the strictest Certificate of Need (CON) Laws. The purpose of these laws is to prevent competitors from entering the health care market place. These laws are designed to protect the good old boy hospitals from competition of any kind, designed to eliminate any care alternatives for patients, essentially cartelizing the local market. Looks to me like the GHA has underestimated the people living in Georgia.
Just before I started writing this, my scheduler told me we had received 35 surgery requests from Georgia today. The CON laws are not working when informed and mobile patients are scaling Georgia’s equivalent of healthcare’s Berlin wall. It is the work of these hospital folks that has made access to care for so many a possibility only if they are willing to leave the state. Residents of states like Georgia with these certificate of need laws are living the healthcare life of Canadians now that I think about it. These free market ideas are powerful and are making access to affordable and high quality care a reality in a way that no lawmaker could hope to accomplish (or prevent).
G. Keith Smith, M.D.