An ER on U.S. 280 after all?

Published 4:01 pm Friday, August 10, 2012

Brookwood Medical Center will get another opportunity for approval of its plan for a freestanding ER on U.S. 280. This is an artist's rendition of what the freestanding ER might look like. (File)

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Brookwood Medical Center will get another opportunity to gain approval for a freestanding emergency facility on U.S. 280.

Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board initially approved Brookwood’s freestanding ER in July 2010, but Montgomery County Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey overturned the board’s approval June 3, 2011 by ruling that Brookwood failed to give enough public notice during its application process.

On Aug. 10, 2012, the state appeals court overturned McCooey’s ruling, giving Brookwood another chance.

In its decision, the state appeals court noted that while McCooey was technically correct that Brookwood failed to give notice within 30 days of filing its Certificate of Need application on June 23, 2008, such failed notice did not silence opposition to the application from members of the general public.

The decision also noted that members of the public, including doctors, community leaders and local residents, were generally in favor of the freestanding ER, as evidenced by the dozens of letters received and the testimony by several citizens supporting the project.

“Brookwood’s noncompliance with the publication rule in this case is not a ground for reversing the decision to issue the (Certificate of Need) to Brookwood,” the decision states.

The state court remanded the case to McCooey for further consideration and ordered McCooey to enter “a judgment regarding the merits of the decision to issue Brookwood the (Certificate of Need).”

In an emailed statement, Brookwood spokesperson Kelly Taylor said Brookwood officials are pleased with the opportunity to try again for approval of its freestanding ER.

“Brookwood’s proposal to build a freestanding emergency room is the most appropriate, cost effective solution for the health care needs of this community,” the statement read. “Miles away from the traffic congestion at Interstate 459 and U.S. 280, our facility will provide earlier treatment for emergency medical services, which will greatly benefit the patients and families we have served for many years.”