Thursday, September 11, 2008
Alliance requests hearing on Methodist’s application
Alliance HealthCare System Inc.’s president, Dr. Kenneth Williams, has requested a hearing to voice concerns about Methodist HealthCare’s certificate of need application for a 100-bed hospital in Olive Branch.
According to Williams, a hospital in Olive Branch would jeopardize the future of Alliance HealthCare System in Marshall County. If the proposed hospital is approved, AHS may be forced to close, Williams said, because an Olive Branch hospital may attract patients who can afford to pay for their care, leaving AHS to care for Medicaid and charity care patients, who often cannot pay their entire bills.
Furthermore, Williams said the proposed hospital would severely jeopardize AHS’s already-in-process plans of a medical campus in Holly Springs (Marshall County). AHS is in the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art replacement facility just off Highway 78 (future I-22).
AHS is Marshall County’s only hospital, and it also serves Benton County. The Mississippi State Department of Health has designated both Marshall and Benton counties as medically underserved. Also, Marshall County ranks last in Mississippi (and several times recently, last in the United States) in public health indicators, while DeSoto County (neighboring county) is ranked first in the state, according to the Department of Health.
“Not only would our hospital suffer if this certificate of need application is approved, but our community would suffer, as well,” said Williams. “If we had to close our hospital, our patients would face even greater hardships because available health care would be so far from them. Without AHS, the nearest emergency room would be 30-45 miles away.
“We have worked over five years developing the medical campus to address the health care needs of our area and also to improve the poor health care statistics of these medically underserved communities within these two counties. The project has been aided by a joint working relationship among the city of Holly Springs, a commercial developer and Alliance HealthCare via the Department of Rural Development.
“For those reasons, I am requesting a hearing on the application and believe that everyone who submitted comments about the application should do the same.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health has previously granted AHS a certificate of need to build a replacement hospital. Williams said the hospital may not be financially able to complete the project if Methodist’s certificate of need application is approved.
AHS is a 40-bed acute care hospital that offers a 24-hour emergency room, physical therapy, and diagnostic and senior care services. It also has psychiatry, gynecology and several other departments.
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