This appeal from the dismissal of North Fulton Medical Center, Inc.'s (North Fulton) actions for mandamus and judicial review is controlled by our recent opinion in HCA Health Svcs. v. Roach, 263 Ga. 798 (439 SE2d 494) (1994)
. Here, as in HCA Health Svcs., a hospital owner brought an action against the State Health Planning Agency (SHPA) contending SHPA acted without authority in determining a competitor was not required to obtain a certificate of need under the Certificate of Need program, OCGA 31-6-40
et seq., in order to relocate a facility.
1. In HCA Health Svcs., we rejected the argument, also asserted in this appeal, that SHPA has discretion to exempt health care providers from the review procedures established by the CON program, and from the requirement of obtaining a certificate of need where, as here, the provider seeks to relocate a facility operating under the CON program (i.e., with a certificate of need or properly grandfathered as a facility pre-existing the CON program), in this case more than ten miles from its existing location. We pointed out in HCA Health Svcs. that nothing in the State Health Planning and Development Act (which includes the CON program) or in SHPA's rules promulgated pursuant to the Act, gives it discretion to exempt a facility like that in HCA Health Svcs., or the facility in this case, from CON requirements if the facility is relocated. Accordingly, the trial court erred by holding to the contrary.
2. North Fulton raised its claims regarding SHPA's improper actions in two counts, one for judicial review and one for mandamus. The trial court dismissed the action in its entirety. Although North Fulton's action for judicial review, if it had a valid one, was timely (compare HCA Health Svcs., Division 1), it is unclear from the record whether that remedy was available. If it were, the trial court erred in dismissing North Fulton's action for judicial review, but did not err in dismissing the petition for mandamus. Henderson v. Carter, 229 Ga. 876
, 880 (5) (195 SE2d 4
) (1972). If North Fulton did not have a proper remedy through judicial review of SHPA's determination, its claim for relief by mandamus was appropriate.
(a) North Fulton's claim for judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act asserted that SHPA's letter determination that the relocation of the facility in question would not require a CON was a "declaratory ruling" under the APA, OCGA 50-13-11
(b). It is not apparent from the record whether the letter exempting the facility from CON review is, in fact, a "declaratory ruling," from which North Fulton, as a competitor and aggrieved party, 1
could seek judicial review. OCGA 50-13-19
(a); Chattahoochee Valley Home Health Care v. Healthmaster, Inc., 191 Ga. App. 42
, 43 (1) (a) (381 SE2d 56
) (1989). Accordingly, the trial court's dismissal of North Fulton's action for judicial review is reversed and remanded for a determination of whether that review is available, and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. 2
(b) If the trial court determines judicial review is not available to North Fulton, then North Fulton's action for mandamus relief was appropriate, and should be granted consistent with this opinion. HCA Health Svcs., supra.
Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, David J. Bailey, Ruth H. Gershon, for appellant.