About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Hospitals vie over kidney treatment
Mary Washington Healthcare doesn’t like the idea, but the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center has received an early endorsement to add a mobile lithotripsy service for the treatment of kidney stones.
An analyst from the Virginia Department of Health recommended approval of the project last week, with the condition that the hospital offer the service to everyone, regardless of ability to pay, and does charity care equal to 4.2 percent of its lithotripsy revenue.
Lithotripsy uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder and ureter. Spotsylvania Regional wants to hire HealthTronics to bring a mobile unit to the hospital one day a week. HealthTronics already visits Mary Washington Hospital one day a week and one-half day every other week.
Mary Washington officials attended last month’s public hearing about Spotsylvania Regional’s plan but did not speak. Three weeks later they sent a letter to the state, saying that Spotsylvania’s service would hurt their own. The state analyst rejected Mary Washington’s argument, saying that the benefits to patients of adding another day of service in the region outweighed any harm that would be done to Mary Washington’s bottom line.
The state health commissioner will have the final say on Spotsylvania’s request. A decision is expected by November.
(An earlier post on the Health Department’s public hearing can be seen here. For more details about Spotsylvania’s request, see the story soon in the paper.)