Rehab hospital facing obstacles

Dear Editor,

A proposed $17 million, 34-bed HealthSouth rehabilitation hospital in Shelby County needs community support to overcome political obstacles in Montgomery.

The inpatient hospital, which will be built somewhere in Shelby County and has the support of Shelby Baptist Medical Center, will provide vital rehabilitation services for patients recovering from strokes, fractures, brain injuries, cardiac conditions and other medical problems.

The nearest comparable facility is the HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital in Homewood, which currently has a waiting list of more than 60 patients. Shelby County is the largest county in Alabama without an inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

The project faces substantial obstacles from nursing homes, which contend that this hospital will deprive them of patients. There is little evidence to support this position.

More than 25 nursing homes outside of Shelby County are opposing the project. The project also faces opposition from at least one state legislator from another county who has received a large campaign contribution from a company that owns eight nursing homes on record with the Statewide Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) as opposing the project.

The SHCC will meet in Montgomery on Sept. 9 to consider HealthSouth’s request to adjust the State Health Plan to add 17 inpatient rehabilitation beds to Shelby County.

This is the next step necessary to make this new hospital a reality. Letters to the SHCC Chairman Mary Holcomb from residents supporting the project will send a clear message that this proposed hospital is needed in Shelby County.

Please visit the State Health Planning & Development Agency’s website (Shpda.alabama.gov) for more information about the agency. Letters to the SHCC can be sent to P.O. Box 303025 Montgomery, Alabama 36104.

James Dedes

Pelham