Hoover hospital needed

Published 3:19 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We are at a loss to explain exactly why Gov. Bob Riley rejected the proposal for a new hospital in Hoover. It seems that, as one of Alabama’s largest cities (and one of the fastest-growing in the state), Hoover deserves a hospital to serve its 70,000-plus citizens.

Riley claims he’s concerned the new hospital will raise Medicaid costs for the state, but we don’t really understand where the raised costs would come from.

His objection seems to be based on the supposed Medicaid cost of adding 140 hospital beds, but the proposal as written wouldn’t create any additional beds. Instead, already licensed beds would be shifted to the new hospital.

Riley’s primary focus shouldn’t be on whether or not Jefferson and Shelby Counties have an over-abundance of beds. Rather, his focus should be on the citizens of Hoover, who deserve to have immediate medical care available to them.

The State Health Planning Development Agency, the organization that overseas medical facilities in Alabama, already studied the facts and unanimously approved the plan.

For now, Hoover residents must simply wait and hope they don’t need urgent medical care before this issue is resolved.

As Mayor Tony Petelos said, “If you’re going to have a heart attack in Hoover, don’t have it at 5 o’clock during rush hour traffic.” If only it was that simple.