Angioplasty project withstands constitutional scrutiny: THE ST. LUKE HOSPITALS, INC. V. COM. (COA 5/9/2008)

THE ST. LUKE HOSPITALS, INC. V. COM.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW:  Angioplasty pilot project withstands constitutional scrutiny

2007-CA-001092

PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: DIXON PRESIDING; COMBS, KNOPF CONCUR
KNOX COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 5/9/2008

CA affirms dismissal of declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutionality of KRS establishing an angioplasty pilot project.

Pursuant to state law, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued the State Health Plan establishing a pilot project to study the risks and benefits of allowing angioplasty at hospitals without immediate access to an open-heart surgery facility. The scope was limited to one eastern Kentucky hospital and one western one located thirty minutes from an on-site open-heart surgery center. St. Luke, a northern Kentucky facility, (joined by other facilities) filed this action challenging the constitutionality of the project.

CA holds that both the two-hospital limitation and the thirty-minute requirement are reasonable in light of the inherent risks of the project, including increased patient mortality. The Cabinet held a lengthy review process and the regulation survives rational basis scrutiny.

Digested by John E. Hamlet

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