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Hospital future hangs in the balance

By Staff
Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
An additional 120 hospital beds in Madison County may be approved in Montgomery today.
If members of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council approve Crestwood Hospital's request to get additional beds allotted in Madison County, the next step for Crestwood will be to go through a certificate of need process and a letter of intent to build the hospital.
Should the council not approve the request today, Crestwood Hospital CEO Brad Jones said he would not give up and try again under a new administration or under a new coordinating council.
Jones, along with members of the Madison Hospital Advisory Committee, and Madison Mayor Jan Wells, will be in Montgomery this morning at 10 a.m. to persuade the council to approve the additional beds in Madison County.
Jones said he plans to tell the council that there is a significant need for a hospital in Madison due to the increased population of the area, western growth of Madison County and the need for quality care and fast access to a hospital.
Both Crestwood Hospital and Huntsville Hospital have announced plans to build a full service hospital here. However, in order for Crestwood Hospital to break ground for its new facility, it must receive approval by the council to adjust the State Health Plan that will allow the additional beds.
Huntsville Hospital plans to move beds out of its Huntsville campus to Madison.
The hospital advisory committee has been reviewing the proposals from Crestwood Hospital and Huntsville Hospital during the past few weeks.
Mayor Wells sent a letter to the residents of Madison last week asking for testimony from individuals who have had experience with existing hospitals.
"Our comments to the council will be the fact that because our population has grown from 14,000 to 33,000 during the past 10 years, and because traffic congestion makes access to available hospitals increasingly difficult, the need for a hospital in our city is critical," Wells said. "Among the major benefits a hospital would bring to Madison include reduced travel time to and from a local hospital, improved responsiveness and quality of care, improved emergency response times, potential for a medical teaching college, additional jobs in Madison, and the attraction of businesses to promote Madison's development community."
Jones said he is impressed with the huge interest shown by Madison residents in getting a hospital located here. He noted that when Crestwood began putting its plans together to bring a hospital to the city, he did so with residents of Madison.
"Getting a hospital in Madison is a big issue for Madison residents. A lot of hard work has gone into this presentation to the council. Because of that, I think we have a very good chance in getting the council to approve the additional beds."

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