Shelby Baptist asks state for 20 new beds

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby Baptist Medical Center officials are looking to bring 20 psychiatric beds from a Montgomery-based health care organization to Alabaster and add new services aimed at patients 65 and older.

The announcement came after Baptist Health System officials submitted an application to the State Health Planning and Development Agency proposing the relocation and operation of the 20 beds from the Montgomery-based Health Care Authority for Baptist Health.

The Health Care Authority for Baptist Health is an affiliate of the UAB Health System.

Shelby Baptist President David Wilson said if approved, the 20 new beds would be used to create a new geriatric psychiatric department on the first floor of the existing hospital. The new offering would be the first of its kind in Shelby County, and would serve primarily patients 65 and older who are facing both medical issues and treatable psychiatric issues.

“We may have a patient 65 or 70 years old who has a medical problem, but is also facing dementia or schizophrenia,” Mitchell said. “The beds are at a Baptist facility in Montgomery, and they are not currently in use.”

According to the Shelby Baptist application, more than 20,000 people in Shelby County are older than 65. Wilson said the number is expected to grow to nearly 40,000 by 2020 and more than 60,000 by 2030.

If the new beds are approved, the hospital likely will spend about $1.3 million on initial investments for the project, including renovations to the existing hospital facility to house the new department, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said Baptist Health System has already submitted its certificate of need application to the state, and is awaiting confirmation of its receipt.

Wilson said the certificate of need application could come before the state CON board as early as February or March of 2012. He said the hospital is looking to open the new department by Jan. 1, 2013.