Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Alabaster, Ala., will appeal a court decision issued last week that could shut down a highly profitable, year-old open-heart surgery unit, officials said. The ruling by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals -- the latest twist in a five-year legal battle -- reversed a decision last July by a county court judge allowing the 187-bed medical center to continue the procedures despite opposition from the Alabama State Health Planning and Development Agency and competitor Brookwood Medical Center, Birmingham. Brookwood, which also performs the procedures, believes that there aren't sufficient numbers of procedures to justify two programs. Shelby Baptist, part of Birmingham-based Baptist Health System, will be allowed to continue the procedures during the appeals process. -- by Michael Romano
Ala. hospital plans appeal to keep surgery center open
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