Judge overturns approval for Brookwood ER on 280

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

A Montgomery County judge earlier this month overturned approval from the state for Brookwood Medical Center’s proposed freestanding emergency facility in Hoover, but that won’t ultimately stop Brookwood’s plans, the hospital’s attorney said June 21.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey ruled June 3 that Brookwood failed to give enough public notice during its application process.

“This is just a setback on a technicality,” Brookwood attorney Jim Williams said. “We expect to prevail.”

Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board approved in July 2010 Brookwood’s proposal to build the emergency room at the intersection of Alabama 119 and U.S. 280 East.

The board’s decision was appealed by Trinity Medical Center, which claimed Brookwood failed to publish the proper notice during the application process.

“The publication was just slightly late,” Williams said. “The publication is intended to provide notice. The party that wanted to oppose it obviously opposed it. That would be Trinity Medical Center. There’s no one else that’s said they didn’t get notice. There’s been no prejudice to anyone.

“Judge McCooey stated that the Brookwood free-standing emergency room CON was really affirmed in all respects,” Williams added, saying the judge’s decision was based on a “technicality that the CON board and the state agency has never really enforced, but that is the ruling.”

In an emailed statement June 21, Trinity spokeswoman Leisha Harris said, “The Certificate of Need process is complex – but it involves defined rules and procedures. We respect Judge McCooey’s decision to require the applicant to follow these procedures as specified by law.”