Three-hospital Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Charleston, S.C., and 106-bed East Cooper Regional Medical Center, Mount Pleasant, S.C., said they have reached an agreement regarding separate certificate-of-need applications. Roper St. Francis, which was known as CareAlliance Health Services until recently, said it will drop its opposition to a CON application by East Cooper and an academic partner to build a linear accelerator. East Cooper is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif. Roper also agreed to downgrade the emergency room at its Roper Mount Pleasant ER and Diagnostic Services facility to an urgent-care center. As part of the agreement, East Cooper will drop its opposition to Roper's plans to expand 371-bed Roper Hospital, Charleston. In Florida, the attorney general's office has investigated similar agreements for possible antitrust violations. HCA, Nashville, and the Cleveland Clinic's Florida unit recently settled allegations that certain aspects of an agreement on CON applications were anticompetitive. South Carolina's attorney general's office could not immediately be reached for comment. -- by Vince Galloro
S.C. hospitals make tradeoffs in CON dispute
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