GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Healthcare leaders in the Triad are engaged in a heated debate over whether a new hospital is needed in northwest Greensboro.

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist has submitted a certificate of need application to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for a $246 million hospital along Horse Pen Creek Road, stating that it will provide patients with more options in an underserved area.

However, competitor Cone Health officials disagree, saying that the new hospital could introduce oversaturation that could potentially have negative impacts on patient care, jobs and the local economy.

“This new project comes after Cone Health had already built a facility in that area, maybe a mile or less, from where this proposed site is,” said Dr. James Wyatt, chief medical officer of the Central Region of Cone Health.

During a public meeting held at the Benjamin Branch of Greensboro Public Library, dozens of Greensboro residents and stakeholders gathered to share their thoughts on the proposed medical facility. Community members expressed concerns that limiting the ability to introduce new healthcare providers in the area could lead to a healthcare monopoly.

“Monopolies ensure that their providers face little to no competition. They know that consumers or in this case, patients have no other options,” said a community member.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan was in attendance and stated that while she believes in equitable access to quality healthcare, she feels that the new hospital could have been located in an area of greater need.

“Northwest Greensboro has a higher per capita income than any other area in the city of Greensboro. The people who live in northwest Greensboro already have many options to access quality healthcare,” Mayor Vaughan said.

Despite concerns raised by Cone Health officials that the construction of the new hospital could have negative impacts on patient care, jobs and the local economy, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist believes that the new hospital will benefit the growing population in the area.

“That area is growing rapidly. There isn’t an option for most patients in that area, and we have community relations in the area that we feel will be supported by this new medical center,” said Kevin High, president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

The NCDHHS is set to make a final decision by the end of July and will consider all feedback received during the meeting.

FOX8 will continue to follow this story closely and provide updates as they become available.