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Court Denies Motion by Greenview and Cabinet for Health and Family Services to Dismiss Medical Center EMS Lawsuit

Friday, December 7, 2018

Franklin Circuit Court has denied a motion filed by Greenview Hospital and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to dismiss a Medical Center EMS lawsuit challenging the Cabinet’s emergency regulation involving ambulance service.

The Cabinet issued the emergency regulation in late September which allows Certificate of Need (CON) applications for new ambulance services to be “fast-tracked” through non-substantive review if proposed in counties meeting certain criteria. When the Cabinet enacted the emergency regulation, it mistakenly identified six counties in which the emergency regulation would apply, one of which was Warren County. Greenview Hospital filed a CON application the morning after the emergency regulation was enacted and before the emergency regulation was available to the public online.

The emergency regulation came on the heels of a privately funded “study” by the Pegasus Institute, a Louisville-based “think tank,” that suggested Warren County was the most underserved in the state for ambulance service. Medical Center EMS and Warren County Fiscal Court were quick to point out that neither had been contacted by the Pegasus Institute, and Warren County Fiscal Court unanimously passed a resolution at its November 30 meeting stating there is no need for an additional ambulance service in Warren County.

Greenview Hospital’s first response to the Medical Center EMS lawsuit was to file a motion to dismiss it. In a highly unusual move, the Cabinet joined Greenview Hospital’s motion. The Cabinet has traditionally remained neutral in such disputes. Wade Stone, Executive Vice President of Med Center Health, commented, “We were pleased to hear that Franklin Circuit Court rejected the attempt by Greenview Hospital and the Cabinet to dismiss our lawsuit. The lawsuit was a last resort for us, however we felt from the very beginning that this regulation unfairly and unlawfully targeted Warren County and threatens to disrupt what is one of the best emergency response systems in the Commonwealth that is delivered with no tax subsidy from Warren County citizens.”

The Medical Center Sleep Center Receives Reaccreditation

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Medical Center Sleep Center in Bowling Green recently received program reaccreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

“Almost 70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder,” says Justin Srygler, Director of Clinical Allied Services at The Medical Center, “and these disorders can be linked to chronic physical disorders as well as anxiety and depression. We are proud of the high-quality service The Medical Center Sleep Center offers to our community. This accreditation shows that our patients are receiving the best care possible.”

“The American Academy of Sleep Medicine congratulates The Medical Center Sleep Center on meeting the high standards required to earn reaccreditation as a sleep disorders center,” said Dr. Douglas Kirsch, AASM president. “The Medical Center Sleep Center is an important resource to the local medical community and will provide academic and scientific value in addition to the highest quality care for patients suffering from sleep disorders.”

To receive accreditation for a five-year period, a sleep center must meet or exceed all standards for professional healthcare as designated by the AASM. These standards address core areas such as personnel, facility and equipment, policies and procedures, data acquisition, patient care, and quality assurance. Additionally, the sleep center’s goals must be clearly stated and include plans for positively affecting the quality of medical care in the community it serves.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited a sleep disorders center for the first time in 1977. Today, there are more than 2,600 AASM-accredited sleep centers across the country.

The Medical Center Sleep Center was established in 1991 to diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, insomnia and narcolepsy, among others. The Medical Center Sleep Center also performs pediatric sleep studies and tests for all sleep disorders in children ages two and older. The Center is directed by Nisarfathmia Kazimuddin, MD, and is located at 825 Second Avenue East, A3.

Med Center Health Files Lawsuit Against Cabinet for Health and Family Services As “Last Resort” Over Emergency Regulation

Monday, October 29, 2018

Med Center Health announced Monday that it has filed a lawsuit against the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to stop an emergency regulation involving ambulance services. The Cabinet issued the regulation on September 25, clearing the way for an additional ambulance provider to address what the Cabinet wrongly calls a “public health crisis” in Warren County. Cabinet officials have since refused to meet with Med Center Health or Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon regarding the matter.

"This was our last resort,” said Wade Stone, Executive Vice President of Med Center Health. “The Cabinet left us no choice when it refused our request to simply have a conversation. We had hoped that a ‘public health crisis’ would warrant a meeting. It certainly seemed reasonable to us.”

Med Center Health has owned and operated Medical Center EMS for nearly forty years. It is the only ambulance service in Kentucky accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) through the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). Medical Center EMS received the 2018 Mission Lifeline: EMS Gold Award from the American Heart Association as well as the 2018 Award of Excellence for Pediatric Emergency Care.

According to Stone, Med Center Health is concerned about how the emergency regulation came to pass. “We know the Pegasus Institute released a study that contained significant errors and misleading conclusions while focusing much of its attention on Warren County. We know the Cabinet issued an emergency regulation that only affects two counties in the entire state, Warren being one of those. We know that TriStar Greenview filed a Certificate of Need application for a new ambulance service before the emergency regulation was published on the state’s website. And now we know the Cabinet won’t talk to us.”

Stone said Medical Center EMS will continue to meet the needs of Warren County with the same award-winning service patients have come to expect. “We sincerely appreciate everyone’s support,” said Stone. “Our crews will continue to provide professional, compassionate care in a timely manner. We’ll let Franklin Circuit Court figure the rest out.”

Med Center Health First Responders and Warren County Judge-Executive Snubbed By Bevin Administration Following Request to Discuss Emergency Regulation

Friday, October 26, 2018

Adam Meier, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, has denied a request to meet with Med Center Health and Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon concerning a recently issued Emergency Regulation which addresses ambulance service in Warren County. Med Center Health and Judge Buchanon requested the meeting to make clear to the Bevin Administration that there is not a "public health crisis" as cited in the regulation and that Medical Center EMS has provided outstanding service to the community for nearly forty years.

"There is no need for a second ambulance service in Warren County," said Judge Buchanon. "I am quite honestly shocked and disturbed that no one sought my opinion or input prior to dropping an emergency regulation that claims we have a public health crisis in Warren County involving our ambulance service." According to Judge Buchanon, he and Med Center Health officials requested a meeting with Secretary Meier, in part, to share facts that shed light on what they considered to be an erroneous and misleading report published by the Pegasus Institute in July. The Governor’s emergency regulation cited the Pegasus Institute study when rationalizing the need for the emergency regulation.

"The fact that I was not contacted by the state or any one of our legislative delegation prior to the emergency regulation is upsetting enough," said Buchanon. "Then to decline our request to have a conversation and discuss the facts – I think it speaks for itself."

Wade Stone, Executive Vice President of Med Center Health, shared the same sentiment as Judge Buchanon. "We are extremely disappointed in the fact that Secretary Meier declined our request to simply have a word with them face-to-face. One would think that a ‘public health crisis’ would at least warrant a conversation."

Med Center Health is now weighing other options to address what it considers to be a misguided and needless regulation. "Obviously we were hoping to resolve this through open discourse with the Bevin Administration," said Stone. "This latest setback tells us we are dealing with a politically motivated move to target Warren County solely for the benefit of a for-profit, Tennessee-based hospital chain. This regulation had nothing to do with need." Stone added that a legal challenge is not out of the question. "We’ll take whatever means necessary to defend the integrity and honor of our first responders whom were clearly attacked in this baseless study and rigged regulation."

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Official Opening for the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus

Friday, October 12, 2018

A ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday marked the official opening of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus. The celebration of the new home for faculty, staff and the inaugural class of 30 students was also an opportunity to thank the medical school's partners - Med Center Health and Western Kentucky University - and the community of Bowling Green.

The college encompasses 24,000-square-feet on the second floor of the newest building at Med Center Health which will also include offices for The Medical Center and a five-level, 832-space parking structure. Amenities of the second floor include a computer lab, two large classrooms, four multi-purpose, six small group rooms and eight simulation and standardized patient rooms.

"One of the critical barriers to improving the health and wellness of the people in the Commonwealth is the shortage of physicians serving in community settings across the state," said UK Provost David Blackwell. "Today's ceremony marks an important milestone in strategically addressing this need but it could not have been possible without our partners at Med Center Health and Western Kentucky University."

The UK College of Medicine is at its capacity at the Lexington campus and although there is a deep applicant pool for medical students, the college couldn’t expand enrollment without the help of regional partners. In addition to the Bowling Green Campus that opened this fall, a Northern Kentucky Campus will open in Fall 2019.

“This new medical campus and these students help ensure our state will remain competitive as the landscape of health care changes,” said Dr. Robert DiPaola, Dean of the UK College of Medicine. “It signals a new beginning in training more physicians in Kentucky, for Kentucky, and the support we have received from Med Center Health and Western Kentucky University as well as this community has been extraordinary and we are truly grateful."

The UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus is a fully functioning campus, utilizing the exact curriculum and assessments as UK’s Lexington campus. Faculty have UK College of Medicine appointments and teach in small groups, as well as provide simulation/standardized patient experiences.

“As someone who grew up in a rural part of Kentucky, I understand firsthand the need to provide quality medical care throughout our state," said Associate Dean Dr. Todd Cheever. "The UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus is poised to address the physician shortage, especially in southcentral and Western Kentucky and I am proud of the students who have chosen to complete their medical education in Bowling Green and take this important step toward improving the health of our citizens.”

As part of the medical students' education, clinical experiences occur at Med Center Health facilities, which span six hospitals, including its flagship hospital The Medical Center at Bowling Green, and more than 30 other entities.

“Med Center Health’s involvement in this project shows how serious we are about living up to our promise to care for people and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Connie Smith, President and CEO of Med Center Health. “The UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus is a giant leap forward for our health system. Being a teaching hospital brings an unprecedented level to delivering the best in evidence-based care to our patients. We are committed to training doctors in Kentucky, for Kentucky.”

Through the partnership, basic science and early didactic training is being taught in conjunction with faculty at WKU through both onsite classes and live-streaming of lectures in accordance with UK College of Medicine curricular protocols.

"This remarkable partnership between Med Center Health and our two universities represents the very best of what higher education institutions can do to elevate the communities we serve when we work together,” said Timothy C. Caboni, President of Western Kentucky University. “We are excited for the opportunity that many of our students will have to move seamlessly into medical school right here in our community and for the many ways that WKU faculty will be engaged.”

For students, the program in Bowling Green offers the benefit of scholarships, smaller class sizes and the opportunity to live, work and learn in an up-and-coming Kentucky community.

"Being a part of the inaugural class at the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus is truly a once in a lifetime experience," said Caitlyn Galloway, a Bowling Green native and also a WKU graduate. "Every single student in our 30-student class and all of the administrative staff are part of a new beginning for both the school and the community. We have the chance here to create something that is good not just for the city of Bowling Green, but also for the entire state of Kentucky."