Chamber Wants Carilion Out

By: Mike Mueller
By: Mike Mueller

First it was the Augusta County Medical Center, then it was the County Board of Supervisors. Now, the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce is on-board in opposing Carilion Health System's new imaging center in Staunton.

"There is no need for another organization to come in to provide a duplication of what's already being provided," says Benjamin Carter of the Chamber of Commerce.

It?s a duplication Carter feels could cost local businesses thousands of dollars in health costs with the addition of a second imaging center in the valley.

"If we don't control the increase in the cost of health care a lot of employers are going to eliminate that benefit package and not provide health care coverage for any of their employees," stresses Carter.

Carilion Health System disagrees.

"The state certificate of public need laws are designed to protect hospitals like Augusta to make sure that additional services are only allowed in the area that demonstrate a need," says Carilion Spokesman Eric Earnhart.

It will continue to grow as the need for imaging increases, which could benefit both businesses.

"By the time the station is built in a bout 2007, there will be plenty of patients that need to be met," says Earnhart. "Nobody should have trouble having enough patients in their imaging services."

Earnhart hopes Carilion and AMC can work together in the future, with business feeding off of each other.

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