Turnabout isn’t fair play

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Late last year, in December, we wrote an editorial giving our support to Trinity Medical Center in its efforts to move to the then-unused HealthSouth facility on U.S. 280.

After four years of legal wrangling, Trinity finally won that battle in May 2013, as the Alabama Supreme Court ruled against hearing any further arguments against Trinity’s move from rival health systems, such as Brookwood Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Health System.

In our December editorial, we wrote, “We support Trinity in its quest to move to the former HealthSouth facility — just as we support Brookwood Medical Center in its effort to open a freestanding emergency facility on U.S. 280 in Shelby County.

“We believe in a spirit of healthy competition. There are plenty of Shelby County citizens who need health care. A Brookwood emergency room would certainly see its share of patients, as would a Trinity hospital.”

We still stand by that belief, and we’re disappointed today that Trinity officials, who certainly know the frustration that comes from the constant back-and-forth of legal challenges, are now appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court to stop Brookwood from opening its freestanding ER in Shelby County.

In Trinity’s appeal to the state Supreme Court, filed Aug. 22, Trinity attorneys argued that the State Health Planning and Development Agency should not have approved a Certificate of Need for Brookwood’s freestanding ER because the State Health Plan has no existing standards for freestanding ERs and does not address freestanding ERs in any capacity.

While the State Health Plan certainly needs to be revised to include standards for freestanding ERs, reports state that those regulations are expected to go into effect very soon. Since construction has not started on the Brookwood facility, Brookwood officials should have time to ensure that the design of the freestanding ER meets whatever regulations the state may enact.

We are thrilled to have Trinity’s Grandview Medical Center on U.S. 280, but we believe Brookwood’s proposed facility will also be a huge boon to county residents. We hope the Alabama Supreme Court hands down its ruling soon and allows the Brookwood project to go through with no more opposition.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.