JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.Mountain States Health Alliance said that Tennessee regulators granted it three certificates of need that will lead to the building of a $122 million, 80-bed replacement hospital and the addition of 64 beds at its flagship 433-bed Johnson City Medical Center. The replacement hospital will take over the majority of the services offered by the systems 94-bed North Side Hospital and 49-bed Johnson City Specialty Hospital, with 64 of North Sides beds being shifted to Johnson City Medical Center. Another CON allows the transfer of 13 skilled-nursing beds from Johnson City Medical Center to the systems 60-bed Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital. North Side and Johnson City Specialty hospitals will be used to provide outpatient services, a skilled-nursing ward and administrative offices. Not-for-profit Mountain States Health Alliance operates eight hospitals in eastern Tennessee.
ATLANTAGeorgia is making an aggressive push into healthcare information technology, joining the federal government and other active states in promoting technology standards as a way to improve quality and efficiency. Last month, Russell Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Council of the Georgia Health Care Association, was named chairman of the states Health Information Technology and Transparency Advisory Board, a 12-member group created in
mid-October by Gov. Sonny Perdue. The board will advise the Georgia Department of Community Health on the best ways to encourage the use of electronic health records at hospitals in the state, officials said. The board is an important first step toward improving IT in healthcare, said William McClatchey, chief medical information officer for Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta. McClatchey, a member of the groups ad hoc advisory committee, provided fellow members with a recent tour of the IT system at 447-bed Piedmont Hospital, which he said is the only facility in the state with a totally automated physician order-entry system that could serve as a standard for other hospitals. Its early in the process, he said of the statewide push for improved healthcare IT. We have all embraced the strategy of deploying this technology throughout Georgia. And there are other important issues involving transparency in pricing and quality across the state. What the commission does with those issues is a work in progress. But this is definitely a good step in the right direction.
MINT HILL, N.C.Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte, said that North Carolina regulators approved its application to build a 50-bed hospital in Mint Hill, a suburb of Charlotte. The state Division of Facilities Services has yet to rule on a similar proposal for a 50-bed hospital in Mint Hill made by Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte. Presbyterians proposed hospital will cost $90 million to build and is scheduled to open in late 2009. Carolinas has no comment on Presbyterian being awarded a certificate of need, spokesman Kevin McCarthy said. Carolinas is awaiting decisions on two pending CON applications that it has in Mint Hill, he said.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.Nemours, a pediatric provider, has lost another round in its bid to win state approval for a $260 million, 95-bed childrens hospital in Orlando. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration turned down the organizations second certificate-of-need application, ruling that Nemours, which operates a pediatric clinic in Orlando, did not make the case that a new childrens hospital is needed in a metropolitan area already served by the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, part of Orlando Regional Healthcare. Karen Breakell, a spokeswoman for Nemours Childrens Clinic-Florida at Orlando, said, Were obviously disappointed, especially in light of the fact that we received support from local government officials and municipalities. She said officials are now sorting through several options, which include appealing the decision, submitting a new application in the spring of 2007 or seeking approval for the expansion from state lawmakers, she added. Last year, she said the Orlando clinic treated about 114,000 patients and logged more than 241,000 outpatient visits. Nemours owns four specialty centers in Florida and Wilmington, Del., and 174-bed Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.