Recognized as one of the top ophthalmologists in the country, Dr. Lee Birchansky seeks to offer the kind of medical innovation Iowans need. After learning “no-stitch” cataract surgery in 1991 directly from the pioneer of the procedure, Dr. Birchansky introduced this technique to Eastern Iowa and has performed over 30,000 no-stitch cataract surgeries.
In that time, Dr. Birchansky has been denied a certificate of need to open his own surgery center four times. At each and every step, the two area hospitals that control 100 percent of the existing operating facilities—Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke’s—have opposed his efforts, even intervening in the actions to squash his attempts to compete with them. Dr. Birchansky’s compelling struggle uniquely illustrates the inherent cost of this protectionist regime. Were it not for the CON requirement, Dr. Birchansky could begin performing cataract surgeries in his center within one to three weeks.