Alabama medical board sides with Brookwood

State health planners sided with Brookwood Medical Center concerning a legal question about its proposed U.S. 280 emergency department.

Now, Brookwood won’t have to change the State Health Plan to get approval for the emergency department. The decision came down Wednesday from the Alabama Certificate of Need Review Board.

Trinity Hospital challenged Brookwood’s application, saying state regulations don’t exist for freestanding emergency departments.

The CON board dismissed that argument and said that the normal guidelines would work even for emergency departments not connected to hospitals.

However, the ruling only clears up the one specific legality.

The CON board will still have to decide on Brookwood’s project, which Trinity and St. Vincent’s Health System both contest.

“The application process is still going on,” said Steve Preston, Brookwood vice president of external affairs.

Brookwood, Trinity and St. Vincent’s all have filed paperwork to build an emergency department and/or hospitals in the Greystone area.

Preston said the Brookwood project is set to go before an administrative law judge in July. If approved then, the plan could be brought back to the CON board in December of early 2009, Preston projects.