Certificate Of Need failed Shelby County

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2002

In the early 1970s, the Certificate of Need process was thrust on Alabama to &uot;improve health, access, costs and prevent unnecessary duplication.&uot;

The process, while well meaning, had terrible consequences for Shelby County and the surrounding area last week.

The state’s CON board denied Shelby Baptist Medical Center’s request to provide open-heart services.

In other words, the CON board has once again restricted the free enterprise system in Alabama.

Healthcare is a business, just like any other and as such, should be allowed free access to provide whatever services they choose.

That way, when a resident who lives in Montevallo or Vincent is having a serious heart attack, they would not be faced with a 45-minute-to-an-hour trip to the nearest hospital that is &uot;allowed&uot; to perform open heart surgery.

What an injustice the CON Review Board has forced on Shelby County.

The CON board is a function of the State Health Planning and Development Agency. Its mission &uot;is to ensure that quality health care facilities, services and equipment are available and accessible to the citizens of Alabama in a manner which assures continuity of care at a reasonable cost.&uot;

It’s time for Shelby County residents to step up and let the agency and the CON board know that they have failed miserably in fulfilling their mission.

Members of the CON Review Board are Margaret &uot;Margie&uot; Sellers, chairman; Dr. Herbert Stone, vice chairman; Tim Adams; Borden M. Ray Jr.; Dr. Carole Giardina; Dr. Roosevelt McCorvey; Carleton McCurry; Dr. Melissa Galvin; and Thomas W. Carman.

Write to them. If you know them, call them. Let them know of our disappointment. We must expect better from those who hold our future in their hands.

The address for the State Health Planning and Development Agency is P.O. Box 303025, Montgomery, AL 36130-3025.

Phone number is 334-242-4103, and FAX number is 334-242-4113