HCA's new policy on billing low-income uninsured patients helped it win certificate-of-public-need approval from Virginia for a slightly scaled down version of a hospital project rejected by the state last year. In a letter revealing his ruling, state health Commissioner Robert Stroube cited HCA's promise to discount bills to the uninsured, the continuing "explosive population growth" in Loudoun County, Va., where the new 164-bed hospital would be built, and the improved financial outlook of not-for-profit Loudoun Hospital Center, Leesburg, which would compete with the HCA facility. HCA's new Broadlands Regional Medical Center, originally proposed for 180 beds, would replace two HCA facilities closer to Washington: Northern Virginia Community Hospital, Arlington, and Dominion Hospital, a behavioral health facility in Falls Church, Va. A Loudoun Hospital spokesman said the latest decision is so inconsistent with last year's CON denial "it would be irresponsible not to appeal." Separately, Stroube denied Loudoun Hospital's application for a 33-bed satellite hospital a few miles from its main campus and approved a 22-bed expansion at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax, Va., citing high occupancy. Loudoun Hospital hasn't decided whether to appeal the denial of its proposal. -- by Vince Galloro
HCA's new uninsured policy pays off in Va. CON
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