Six hospitals sued the state of Michigan, Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System and Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Mich., over plans to transfer beds to new sites. The lawsuit, filed June 16 in Ingham County Circuit Court, Lansing, Mich., contends that the state is allowing Henry Ford and Providence to relocate beds in violation of the equal protection clause of the state constitution. Providence's parent, St. John Health, Warren, Mich., also was named. Since 1972, Michigan has required certificate-of-need approval for hospital construction and bed transfers. However, a state law that took effect March 31 allows St. John, Henry Ford and the Detroit Medical Center to transfer up to 300 beds to suburban locations where they operate existing surgery centers and at least four other CON-approved services. The three systems lobbied for the law.
Henry Ford has been trying to build a hospital in West Bloomfield, Mich., where it owns 160 acres and a 200-physician clinic, for the past 20 years but has been thwarted by opposition from local hospitals, said Vinod Sahney, vice president of planning and strategic development. The system plans to build a $300 million acute-care hospital adjoining the clinic; the new facility is slated to open in three years. St. John intends to transform an outpatient surgery center in Novi, Mich., into an acute-care hospital. The Michigan hospitals that filed the suit are: Botsford General Hospital, Farmington Hills; Covenant Medical Center, Saginaw; Mount Clemens (Mich.) General Hospital; Trinity Health, Novi; and William Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak and Troy. -- by Mark Taylor