A New Hospital In Chesterfield?
Officials in the city of Chesterfield recently approved an ordinance that will allow an overnight surgery center to operate on property at North Outer 40 Road and Boone’s Crossing. At first glance, this seems like a simple business response to a market demand.
There is just one problem. Area hospital leaders argue that the overnight surgery center (the potential site for Regeneration Orthopedics) is a hospital under Missouri law and should follow specific licensing, staffing, and safety standards.
This is a complicated issue and I am not an expert. Like most people, I tend to believe that the area’s leading hospitals are genuinely concerned about patients. But making an overnight surgery center, with approximately a half dozen overnight patients, follow the same regulations as BJC HealthCare, SSM Health Care, Mercy, and St. Luke’s is about business, not patients.
I understand that hospitals face complicated regulations, moreso than many other industries, but we must remember that hospitals are businesses. And as businesses, it is in their best interests to limit the entry of other firms into their field. So, when a business claims a new or emerging competitor has an unfair advantage, we must question their allegations and motives. I recognize that Regeneration Orthopedics is in a unique situation, but just because it provides similar procedures as hospitals does not mean it is a hospital.
What is next? Are we going to make test preparation or tutoring centers follow the same regulations as public schools or universities? I mean, they also “skim off” paying individuals and “leave the poor” ones. Like most licensing debates, the Chesterfield “hospital” debate is best left to the free market to decide instead of the government.