Iowa regulators rejected proposals for five new long-term acute-care hospitals, including a "hospital-within-a-hospital," saying there was no need for additional capacity in the state. In doing so, the Health Facilities Council sided with Iowa's largest health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which argued that the projects were unnecessary. Wellmark provides health insurance for 1.6 million of the state's about 3 million residents. Three companies had applied for permission to build additional long-term acute-care capacity. St. Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids, wanted to build a 28-bed hospital-within-a-hospital. Such facilities aren't allowed under Iowa regulations, an official with the state Department of Inspections and Appeals said. St. Luke's has filed a petition challenging the administrative rules, the official said. The council also rejected plans by Select Medical Corp., Mechanicsburg, Pa., for a 44-bed facility in Coralville and a 50-bed facility in Des Moines and proposals by Regency Hospital Co., Alpharetta, Ga., for a 44-bed facility in Iowa City and a 60-bed facility in Des Moines. A Select Medical spokeswoman said the company will continue to work with the certificate-of-need board "to pursue future opportunities." At deadline, Regency officials were unavailable for comment. -- by Jessica Zigmond
Iowa says no to flood of long-term acute-care bids
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