Dr. Singleton’s mission is to provide the best possible care for his patients at a price they can afford. He provides comprehensive eye care—everything from routine checkups to treatment for infections or disorders to surgery. He can do most of this at his own facility, Singleton Vision Center. However, he is legally required to perform surgeries, like cataract surgery or corrective surgery, at the local hospital, CarolinaEast, which charges thousands of dollars more in facility fees.
Dr. Singleton believes this system is needlessly inconvenient and expensive for his patients. For instance, he can perform a cataract surgery at his office for under $1,800 total (facility and surgery fee included), while CarolinaEast charges almost $6,000 for its facility fee alone. Dr. Singleton would like to perform all of his surgeries at his office and save his patients thousands of dollars. Performing outpatient eye surgeries at Dr. Singleton’s facility is also just as safe as performing them at a hospital. Why, then, does Dr. Singleton have to get a CON?
The answer lies in the history of North Carolina’s CON law, which was born out of a misguided federal policy and the desire of hospitals to insulate themselves from competition.