MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- University Health Associates has won another round in its fight to relocate WVU Urgent Care, and officials said Friday the new location will open in mid-June.The Office of Judges this week upheld a previous ruling by the West Virginia Health Care Authority that UHA is a private practice. That means it doesn't have to obtain a certificate of need to move the clinic two miles to the Suncrest Towne Centre shopping center.Morgantown's Mon General Hospital has sued to stop the move, arguing UHA is the clinical practice arm for WVU physicians and controlled directly by WVU Hospitals and West Virginia United Health Systems.The authority disagreed, and the authority's Office of Judges upheld the ruling on appeal.UHA Medical Director Judie Charlton issued a statement asking Mon General to drop the lawsuit, ending both the rancor and the legal expenses.
Mon General officials didn't immediately respond.When it announced the move, UHA said it had cared for more than 100,000 patients at WVU Urgent Care in its first five years, and the relocation was driven by an increase in demand."Within the last few weeks, UHA physicians have been asked to help with unmet health-care needs in Tucker, Marshall and Marion counties," Charlton said. "We are glad that we can continue to serve the state without being unduly hindered by a [certificate of need] process that was not created to monitor these types of endeavors."The state requires certificates of need for projects exceeding $2.9 million unless the entity is exempt. Private physician practices are exempt.The cost of moving WVU Urgent Care is estimated at $2 million to $4 million.The objection to the relocation is among several running conflicts between Mon General and its parent company, and WVU Healthcare, which includes both WVU Hospitals and UHA.