Brookwood to appeal decision allowing Trinity to open U.S. 280 hospital

Published 3:51 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

BIRMINGHAM — Brookwood Medical Center plans to appeal an Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruling that would allow Trinity Medical Center to open a hospital on U.S. 280.

Trinity plans to move to the now-vacant former HealthSouth building.

The Court of Civil Appeals ruling overturns a lower court ruling, issued by Montgomery District Judge Jimmy Pool, that blocks the certificate of need Trinity was awarded for the hospital in September 2010. The Court of Civil Appeals ruling reinstates that certificate of need and also sends the case back to Pool, ordering him to rule in favor of Trinity.

Jim Williams, a lawyer for Brookwood Medical Center, said Brookwood officials plan to file an application for rehearing this Friday, Dec. 14.

Williams said Brookwood is challenging the Court of Civil Appeals ruling because Trinity opening the U.S. 280 hospital will “have a devastating effect on Brookwood Medical Center in the amount of $12 to $17 million per year.”

Trinity Medical Center CEO Keith Granger said the community is united in its support of a hospital on U.S. 280.

“The Court of Civil Appeals spoke with a unanimous voice in its decisive ruling two weeks ago. It is the second time that court has voted unanimously in Trinity’s favor, and it echoed the unanimous support we received from the Certificate of Need Review Board,” Granger said. “I don’t think the judges and regulators could be clearer on this matter. I don’t think the community could be clearer in its support. And I don’t understand how the ownership and local leadership of Brookwood Medical Center continue to miss the point.”

Trinity Board of Trustees Chairman James Spann said “enough is enough.”

“For too long, residents and ambulances in the southern part of Birmingham have had to drive right past the empty hospital on 280. Brookwood representatives have testified that patients have died on Highway 280 while attempting to reach medical care,” Spann said. “With each month of delay, lives are literally at stake. Isn’t that a clear indicator that enough is enough?”

Previously, Trinity officials had said construction on the hospital could begin as early as mid-2013.

Currently, Trinity is housed in a 45-year-old facility on Montclair Road.