Construction will go forward on two new hospitals in suburban Detroit after the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear a protest by six competing hospitals and the Economic Alliance of Michigan. The action by the state's highest court left standing an appellate court ruling earlier this year that upheld the constitutionality of a 2002 law specifically authorizing the transfer of up to 300 beds each without certificate-of-need approval by Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, and St. John Health, Warren, Mich. Henry Ford will shift 300 beds from its flagship Henry Ford Hospital to a new $250 million hospital in West Bloomfield slated to open in 2008. The system plans to break ground on the new hospital in fall. St. John will transfer a total of about 200 beds from two hospitals to a new $224 million facility it began building in Novi this summer. The Novi hospital also is expected to open in 2008. The competing hospitals and the Economic Alliance of Michigan, a business and labor forum that includes Detroit's Big Three automakers and their unions, challenged the state law in 2003. At deadline, alliance officials could not be reached for comment.
In a news release, St. John's chief executive officer called the Supreme Court's decision "a victory for our patients, because it reaffirms our position that there is a definite need for access to inpatient medical care in the rapidly growing western suburbs." Henry Ford's chief operating officer said the court's refusal to hear the case was "fantastic news for the West Bloomfield community." -- by Mark Taylor