Hoke Commissioners Vent Frustration at FirstHealth, Cape Fear Valley
FirstHealth of the Carolinas CEO Charles T. Frock appeared before the Hoke County Board of Commissioners last night to answer questions about the ongoing battle between FirstHealth and Cape Fear Valley Health System over whose hospital plan best meets the needs of county residents.
Frock and Cape Fear CEO Mike Nagowski were invited by Board Chairman Tony Hunt to attend the monthly meeting.
"The commissioners were able to ask questions and vent their frustration," Frock said today. "Most of it was directed at Cape Fear officials because they don't appear to want both facilities to move forward while we're willing to accept that."
The two health systems are appealing the state's decision last year to allow both to build hospitals in Hoke County.
FirstHealth, which is based in Pinehurst, submitted on June 15 a new application for a certificate of need that would allow it to build a 65-bed hospital, a $100 million project that would supersede previous plans. FirstHealth initially proposed building an eight-bed hospital at a projected cost of $34.1 million.
Either project would be constructed on a 30-acre site on U.S. 401 about halfway between Raeford and the Cumberland County line.
Cape Fear Valley, which is based in Fayetteville, has proposed a $92 million, 41-bed hospital on U.S. 401 closer to the Hoke-Cumberland line.
"We're perfectly content with competition," Frock said. "Apparently, Cape Fear is not. That's my interpretation."
Hunt invited both parties to the meeting because he was tired of answering telephone calls and being stopped on the street to discuss the issue.
"Hopefully, our constituents know we're trying to address their concerns, even though I don't know if the meeting did any good," Hunt said. "I do hope we made it clear to FirstHealth and Cape Fear Valley that the citizens of Hoke County are ready for them to build hospitals.
"I think we got our point across. There shouldn't be any reason for them not to begin construction. Let the competition begin."
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