The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 28, 2012

UPDATED: CON issued for new 40-bed hospital facility

From staff reports

— The State Health Planning and Development Agency issued a Certificate of Need Thursday to Athens-Limestone Hospital for a new facility.

A press release issued by the board described the new facility as a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital. The project is expected to have 40 beds and cost $9.26 million.

Attempts to reach hospital officials after hours Thursday were unsuccessful.

Athens-Limestone Hospital is a general medical and surgical hospital with 101 beds. Survey data for the latest year available shows that 31,202 patients visited the hospital’s emergency room. The hospital had a total of 3,675 admissions. Its physicians performed 1,137 inpatient and 3,938 outpatient surgeries.

Hospital CEO Kelli Powers said at a recent Hospital Foundation annual luncheon that with a $2 million loan from Huntsville Hospital, the facility was able to complete renovation of the Emergency Room. The hospital also spent $13,000 in renovating its front lobby; $101,462 on its Baby Place renovation; $190,000 to install a sprinkler system throughout the hospital, and $300,000 on two nuclear cameras.

Capital purchases planned for the next year include a $800,000 renovation of the cafeteria; a $15,000 Glidescope for facilitating intubation; $720,000 in beds and mattresses; $780,000 in room renovations and a $120,000 portable X-ray machine.

Powers said the hospital has a $110 million annual impact on the community, which includes providing 1,265 jobs in Limestone County; $63 million payroll; $8.7 million in charity care and discounted rates for indigent patients.

She did not mention the building of a new hospital during the foundation report.