St. Dominic Health Services in Jackson, Miss., has temporarily lost its bid to build a new facility in the fast-growing suburb of Madison after a judge noted that the hospital derailed a similar project two years earlier by a principal competitor.
Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary last week reversed the state Department of Health's approval of the $35 million facility, pointing out that St. Dominic argued that the metro area had plenty of capacity when it successfully blocked a proposal by Health Management Associates in 2002 to relocate 67 beds to an area south of Madison County in Jackson, about eight miles from the site where St. Dominic now hopes to build its new 50-bed facility.
Ed Brunini, an attorney for St. Dominic, which operates 571-bed St. Dominic-Jackson (Miss.) Memorial Hospital, said the hospital would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. He said he expects it will take about 18 month to resolve the case.
"We realized that we were probably going to end up in the Supreme Court," said Barry Plunkett, vice president of market development at the hospital. "Although the decision was disappointing, it wasn't surprising."
St. Dominic received the go-ahead for the project in January from the state's Division of Health Planning and Resource Development. That decision was contested by Naples, Fla.-based HMA, which oper- ates 429-bed Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and 67-bed Madison County Medical Center in Canton, which is north of Madison.
Two years ago, HMA's attempt to transfer beds from the Madison County Medical Center to a facility just south of the Madison County border was blocked by St. Dominic, which is attempting to build its new hospital at St. Catherine's Village, a retirement village it owns and operates.
Tommy Wiman, a division vice president at HMA, said he was "pleased that the decision was based on guidelines set forth in the state health plan."
HMA has filed a letter of intent with the state health department for a certificate of need to build an 89-bed hospital that would serve as a replacement facility for the existing hospital in that city.