Well, that didn’t take long. Not even a week after I last posted on a positive development in the ongoing saga of Loudoun’s abysmally-behind medical facilities we are now seeing Inova’s management starting to waver on their commitment to support the building of an HCA hospital in southern Loudoun. Via The Loudoun Scoop you can find this story over at the Loudoun Times-Mirror:
Inova Health System, parent of Inova Loudoun Hospital, has notified Health Commissioner Karen Remley that it will stand by its pledge not to block a “genuine relocation” of the 164-bed hospital from Broadlands to U.S. 50. But, the letter goes on, HCA’s real intentions could be to tie the beds up and to use them somewhere else, perhaps in its Reston Hospital Center expansion.
Approving the relocation without requiring the project to be completed on U.S. 50, the letter continues, “would be akin to handing HCA paper beds (and paper ORs and a paper cardiac cath lab, etc.)” and preventing the development of health-care facilities in the entire planning district “until the real plan is unveiled.”
HCA Vice President Mark Foust countered that his company has been trying to build a hospital in Loudoun for the last eight years, “dodging Inova’s roadblocks all that time. The real question is whether Inova will keep its two promises: first, withdrawing its Route 50 application, and second, refraining from challenging ours.”
Aside from self-interested suspicion, is there any evidence whatsoever that HCA is considering such an action? Has there been any proof during this entire 8-year ordeal that HCA has had any aim but to build a hospital in Loudoun County? If there is, Inova needs to pony it up and I mean right now, today. To make such a blanket accusation with no proof smells like Inova’s not too keen on keeping its promise, a promise it reiterated just a week ago today.
They’ve even got a list of demands in there and the list is built in such a way as to give themselves a supposed rationale for bailing out of their promise. One of those items, a demand that the State “[r]equire HCA to notify all other hospitals in the planning district of any filings with the Department of Health” is just arrogance of amazing proportion. Filings with State institutions are held to the exact same specifications for all applicants. Inova wants special treatment where their competitors are concerned. Are they not able to avail themselves of the public record on who has filed what with the State agency, just like any other hospital. What is it, precisely, that gives them the impression that they are owed notifications that they, themselves, do not provide anyone else?
So, here we go again. Inova clearly does not want any other medical firm to be present in Loudoun. They like their monopoly and they’re doing what they can to seal it in. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors should weigh in on this demand with the State agency in the strong negative and they should do so quickly. HCA should be held to exactly the same requirements as any other provider and Inova should be told to mind their own damned business. Such as keeping their freely-given word.