Local hospital group awaits governor

By Staff
Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Local members of the Citizens For Madison's Hospital committee are ready for Gov. Bob Riley to appoint a new Statewide Health Coordinating Council in order to move forward in getting a full-service hospital built in Madison.
The committee's president, John Allen, said the issue now before the committee is when the new council will be appointed and when the council will call a meeting in Montgomery. A decision that could have allowed an additional 120 beds in Madison County was put on hold last December. Prior to Riley's inauguration, he requested that the hospital issue be tabled until he appointed a new council to resume handling the issue.
"Once the new council is appointed, we can commence with the same efforts to influence and convince them about or hospital effort," Allen said. "This will include phone calls, e-mails, letters, postcards and making sure the council understands the true need for an adjustment in the State Health Plan that will allow the additional hospital beds in Madison County."
Both Crestwood Hospital and Huntsville Hospital have proposed building a full-service hospital in Madison. In order for Crestwood Hospital to move forward with those efforts, the State Health Plan must be adjusted – allowing the additional 120 beds in the county.
Huntsville Hospital does not need the adjustment and, according to Huntsville Hospital CEO Joe Austin, Huntsville Hospital plans to move beds out of its Huntsville campus to Madison.
If members of the newly appointed council approve the adjustment to the State Health Plan, Crestwood Hospital CEO Brad Jones said the next step for Crestwood will be to go through a certificate of need process and a letter of intent to build the hospital.
Following the December meeting in Montgomery, Jones said while he was surprised by the outcome of the meeting, Crestwood will continue to educate Madison residents on the issue and will work to educate Gov. Riley and the legislators on the issue.
Jones said he's impressed with the huge interest shown by Madison residents in getting a hospital located here.
"Getting a hospital in Madison is a big issue for Madison residents. A lot of hard work has gone into our presentation to the council. Because of that, I think we have a good chance in getting the new council to approve the adjustment," Jones said.
"We'll wait until the new council is appointed," Allen said. "Then, we will get going again."

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