Cancer hospital's ads claim law turns patients away

A private Georgia hospital is sending a clear signal in the coming health care wars that are sure to roil the 2017 legislative session.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America has launched a slick television and radio advertising campaign in advance of a push at the Gold Dome next year for the Newnan-facility to be allowed to accept more in-state patients.

Thanks to a complicated 2008 compromise that allowed the hospital to avoid the typical certificate-of-need process the state requires for most health care facilities, CTCA is limited to 50 beds and a cap on in-state patients of 35 percent.

Take a look at the video for yourself. It features a couple who gets turned away from a restaurant because the eatery is required to only accept 35 percent in-state customers.

Speak Now Georgia from Speak Now GA on Vimeo.

"Like growing numbers of patients, caregivers and advocates, we want cancer patients to have choices when it comes to where they receive care -- the people who need options the most," CTCA vice president for community and governmental affairs Ray Williams told the AJC. "Right now in Georgia, that's not the case. Turning away one patient is one too many."

CTCA has tried this before, minus the advertising push. In 2015, legislation to raise the 35 percent cap failed. The hospital then tried the regulatory route, and asked the Department of Community health to do it instead, a move that angered lawmakers, who saw it as an end-around.

The state's public hospitals objected and DCH later stalled the proposed regulation.

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