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Hartselle Enquirer

State delays decision on HMC’s rehab bed request

By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
A plan to add in-patient rehabilitation beds at Hartselle Medical Center is on hold until a state board reexamines the request, a decision that probably won’t be made until after the first of the year.
Hartselle Medical Center CEO Jeff Rains said representatives from the hospital will return to Montgomery for the next meeting of the State Health Coordinating Council to request adding 12 rehabilitation beds to Morgan County’s health plan.
The SHCC meets quarterly and Rains said he expects the next meeting to be held after the first of the year. HMC made their case to the SHCC last week. Council members asked for more time to examine the request, as well as opposition from rehabilitation-provider HealthSouth. HealthSouth operates rehabilitation facilities in Birmingham and Huntsville.
Rains said there are no beds in Morgan, Lawrence or Cullman counties devoted to patients in need of rehabilitation services.
The date for the next SHCC has not been set. If it does approve HMC’s request, it will be the first hurdle in what could be a long, protracted battle to bring the services to the area. The plan would still have to be approved by the Certificate of Need Board, the state organization that decides on hospital expansion and services. The entire process could take as little as six months or as long as several years, Rains said.

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