CON board set to decide on Pelham hospital project

The Alabama Health Planning and Development Agency’s Certificate of Need board is set to decide on a HealthSouth request to move 17 beds from Jefferson to Shelby County to use in a proposed 34-bed inpatient rehab hospital in Pelham. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A state Certificate of Need review board is scheduled to decide during a Jan. 16 hearing if it will allow HealthSouth to move 17 beds from Jefferson County to Shelby County to use in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital the company is looking to build in Pelham.

HealthSouth is looking to build a 34-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital across Interstate 65 from the Colonial Pipeline tank farm in Pelham.

The CON review board previously agreed to create 17 new beds in Shelby County to be used in the HealthSouth rehabilitation hospital, and HealthSouth is looking to move 17 HealthSouth-owned beds previously used at the now-closed Carraway Medical Center in Birmingham to fill out the Pelham project.

The State Health Planning and Development Agency’s CON review board set the Jan. 16 hearing after HealthSouth appealed a ruling issued in Dec. 17, 2012 by administrative law judge Stan McDonald.

In the ruling, McDonald encouraged the CON review board to deny HealthSouth’s request to move the 17 beds from Jefferson to Shelby County.

In his ruling, McDonald claims “there are available less costly, more efficient or more appropriate alternatives to HealthSouth’s project,” and alleges “HealthSouth’s project would have significant detrimental impact on existing providers if its project was approved.”

HealthSouth officials previously said the Pelham hospital will serve inpatient rehabilitation patients in a wide geographic area.

After hearing HealthSouth’s appeal, the CON board likely will decide if it will allow the 17 beds to be moved to Shelby County.

Several area nursing homes, including Columbiana Health and Rehabilitation and Shelby Ridge, recently appealed the CON board’s earlier decision to create 17 new beds for HealthSouth’s Pelham project. The CON board will gather input from nursing home and HealthSouth representatives during a future hearing before ruling on the nursing homes’ appeal.