DES MOINES, IowaIowa hospitals must win certificate-of-need approval to build a replacement hospital at a new location, an Iowa District Court judge said. The state CON law exempts projects to replace or modernize hospitals that do not add new services or increase capacity, but only if facilities do not relocate, wrote Polk County District Judge Robert Hanson in his decision. The ruling is a victory for insurer Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Des Moines, which sued Iowas Department of Public Health and three hospitals seeking to build replacement facilities within the same county, which providers argued was allowed under the exemption. Wellmark sued to prevent construction of the replacement facilities. Hanson wrote that Iowas law requires relocating hospitals to seek approval, no matter the distance, he said. Meanwhile, Iowa Health System, Des Moines, scuttled plans to replace 219-bed Iowa Lutheran Hospital, Des Moines, and on Oct. 25 won a CON to build a 95-bed hospital. Jones Regional Medical Center, a 25-bed hospital in Anamosa, also received a CON. At deadline, the Iowa Department of Public Health had not decided whether to appeal.
DEKALB, Ill.Kishwaukee Community Hospital opened a 100-bed replacement hospital. The $102 million Prairie Style building features all private rooms and technology upgrades in 240,000 square feet constructed on the hospitals existing campus in DeKalb, about 64 miles west of Chicago. The old hospital continues to house cardiac rehabilitation and the hospitals leadership is mulling other uses for the 32-year-old building.
BEACHWOOD, OhioUniversity Hospitals broke ground on 53 acres of undeveloped land 11 miles east of Cleveland for a project that potentially is planned to grow into a 600-bed hospital. The first phase, with 144 beds, is expected to open in 2010 and draw heavily from the citys fast-growing eastern suburbs. The $244 million project is named Ahuja Medical Center to honor the family of Monte and Usha Ahuja, who pledged $30 million toward the systems Vision 2010 strategic plan. Monte Ahujafounder, chairman and chief executive officer of Transtar Industries, a Cleveland-based distributor of auto transmission partsis chairman of University Hospitals board of directors and led the task force that developed the systems $1.2 billion plan. The plan also calls for new suburban outpatient centers and expanded services and facilities at the six-hospital systems existing sites, including a cancer hospital and center for emergency medicine at Case Medical Center, Cleveland.
LIMA, OhioSt. Ritas Medical Center opened six of nine floors in a new patient tower that will expand the hospitals capacity by about 90 beds when the $130 million project is finished. St. Ritas, a member of Cincinnati-based Catholic Healthcare Partners, draws from a 10-county region in west central Ohio. As patients are moved into the new rooms, the hospital will renovate old rooms to match the upgraded technology, larger spaces and family-friendly features of the new towers design. More than $10 million raised in community contributions is going toward amenities, such as a chapel and resource library on the first floor. The hospital, which staffed 394 beds before the expansion, has hired 278 new nurses to meet the needs of the larger facility.
WINFIELD, Ill.Central DuPage Hospital, in a far western suburb of Chicago, received a certificate of need to build a five-story pavilion that will house 202 beds in private rooms. The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in October voted to allow the 339-bed hospital, which is expected to break ground in fall 2008 and cost $235.2 million. The new building will include a 150-seat auditorium and medical library, and a new parking deck will be built to make up for parking lots in the footprint of the new construction.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.Truman Medical Centers said it completed a new cardiology unit at 206-bed Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill. The
$5.4 million project includes a new catheterization laboratory, four clinic rooms, cardiac rehabilitation services and added echocardiography testing capacity. Cardiology visits at the hospital are expected to increase 16% in 2008, to 6,500, Truman said. Wait times for an available appointment should go from 19 days to one, Truman said.
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