In the Nov. 22, 1993, issue of MODERN HEALTHCARE, a story was published concerning the certificate of need for Sparrow Hospital's open-heart surgery program (p. 32). I would like to correct and clarify some of the comments made in the story.
Sparrow Hospital has never contended that it would receive transferred patients from Traverse City, Mich., for open-heart surgery. Sparrow currently has a significant number of patients-more than 400 in 1992-who need angioplasty and open-heart surgery services. In fact, in 1992, more than 135 patients at Sparrow had to be transferred outside the mid-Michigan region, primarily because of local capacity problems.
Sparrow did receive pledges from Munson Medical Center to meet the CON requirements for open-heart surgery. These pledges are determined by using an algorithmic formula based on specific inpatient DRGs within a particular hospital. This statewide method for open-heart surgery has been in use since 1988, and many Michigan hospitals have received CONs based on these criteria.
One pledge doesn't equal one patient. For example, one Detroit hospital that performs 600 open-heart surgery procedures per year could only convert to 150 pledges. You misrepresented the pledging method in your article.
Regretfully, the Michigan Department of Public Health's CON criteria isn't based on actual patients and market need, but it's based on a complex formula for determining statewide need. I've previously suggested to the department that these criteria should become market-based.
JOSEPH F. DAMORE
President, chief executive officer
Sparrow Hospital and Health System