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Change in CON needed?

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November 29, 2007

Albany-  General surgeons say they could help lower health care costs by nearly 40 percent if the state Board of Community Health changes provisions in the Certificate of Need laws to allow them to open outpatient clinics.

Dr. Christopher Smith was among the general surgeons who spoke to the board in Atlanta Wednesday. He says, in 1991 General Surgeons were targeted and a provision was added to keep them from opening freestanding outpatient surgery centers to perform the same services as hospitals. That action forced many general surgeons to leave the state.

"That regulation has kept general surgeons at a disadvantage as this is the only state in the nation that has that regulation and the supply of general surgeons is at crisis level because since that regulation has passed, the supply as continuously decreased," said Dr. Chris Smith, Albany Surgical.

After Wednesday's hearing, he's more confident the Board of Community Health will change the rule, but he thinks that would likely prompt opponents to file a lawsuit.

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