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Christ Loses Appeal on Surgical Center in Ft. Mitchell

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled against Christ Hospital's certificate of need application on Friday as the Cincinnati-based health care network's plans for a surgical center in Ft. Mitchell suffer another setback.

Christ's entry into the Northern Kentucky surgery market is opposed by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which contends there is no need for an additional surgery center in the region.

Last year, a Franklin County Circuit Court judge denied Christ's request prompting the hospital to appeal.

“Today was another setback for the patients and residents of Northern Kentucky," said Vic DiPilla, the Christ Hospital Health Network's vice president and chief business development officer, in a statement to The River City News. "This morning we received notice that our Certificate of Need (CON) application was denied by the Kentucky Court of Appeals. While disappointing, we remain committed to delivering on the desire of NKY residents to have more healthcare options. We will be assessing the current environment, and our commitment to serve NKY residents remains steadfast.

“In the meantime, we will continue to encourage the residents of NKY to visit our Ft. Wright and Burlington locations where we have a range of services including an urgent care, imaging, several primary care offices, physical therapy, orthopaedics, OB/GYN, oncology, heart & vascular, and the most preferred physicians in the region.”

Christ had hoped to create its surgical center on the site of the former Drawbridge Inn in Ft. Mitchell. That once popular landmark has since been razed, and in lieu of its certificate of need, Christ has plowed forward in partnership with Bellevue-based Brandicorp on an updated development plan for the site.

The Ft. Mitchell Gateway project includes an emergency room and medical offices, along with other mixed-use components, including residences. In renderings presented by Brandicorp earlier this year, it was clear that Christ was still hoping for approval on its certificate of need, as a surgical center was included in some presentations.

Ft. Mitchell Mayor Jude Hehman agreed with Christ that the appeals court's decision was a setback.

"The city is focused on the expansion and the development of the old Drawbridge property," Hehman told The River City News. "As we see this as a setback for the development, we really need to push towards the success of this property. The area is prime real estate in Fort Mitchell along the corridor of I-75."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Site of future Ft. Mitchell Gateway project (RCN file)