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Riley names health council

By Staff
Staff Reports Madison County Record
Gov. Bob Riley has appointed new members to the State Health Coordinating Council – the entity that could decide the fate of Crestwood Hospital's attempt to build a full-service hospital in Madison.
Local members of the Citizens For Madison's Hospital committee have been waiting for the appointment in order to move forward with its plans to get Alabama's State Health Plan adjusted. The committee's president, John Allen, said the issue now before the committee is when the council will call a new 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.
"Now that the council has been appointed, we can move forward with the same efforts to educate and convince them about our hospital plans," 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.
"The Certificate of Need Board has also been appointed, but we have not heard a specific date as to when the newly formed State Coordinating Council will meet," Jones said. "As soon as a chairperson for this council is appointed, we will make plans to meet with this person."
Following the December meeting in Montgomery, Jones said while he was surprised by the outcome of the meeting, Crestwood has continued to educate Madison residents on the issue and will work to further educate Gov. Riley and the legislators on the hospital plan.
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 this new council to approve the adjustment," Jones said.

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