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Saint Thomas Health plans Rutherford County expansion

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Saint Thomas Health, a part of Ascension, has filed a Certificate of Need application to expand services in order to meet anticipated healthcare needs of the growing Rutherford County population.

Pending approval from the state's Health Services and Development Agency, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital plans to add 72 inpatient beds and additional capacity for outpatient services, at a project cost of more than $55 million.

Additionally, based on the community's utilization of the Saint Thomas Medical Partners - New Salem care center, Saint Thomas Health filed a separate Certificate of Need application for investing in a $16.2 million surgery center to better meet current and future outpatient needs.

"While we are focused on ensuring that we have the appropriate capacity in the hospital setting, we also recognize growth opportunities on the outpatient to meet demand," said Gordon Ferguson, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. "We're making investments across the continuum of care to complement the Saint Thomas Health services Rutherford County residents already depend on."

"Rutherford County is a large and growing market with diverse healthcare needs, and we must respond to meet the needs of the community," said Karen Springer, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Health and senior vice president of Ascension Healthcare, a division of Ascension. "This investment is an integral part of achieving our vision in Rutherford and the surrounding counties, and furthers our mission of serving all persons, with special attention to those most in need."

These planned developments in Rutherford County are part of Saint Thomas Health's broader strategy to meet the needs of patients where they live and work. This lower-cost, high-quality care strategy aims to keep populations healthy and out of the hospital when possible by offering everything from primary care to outpatient surgeries. The expanded inpatient capacity responds to the inevitable care needs of steady community growth and an aging population.

Hearings on both projects will be conducted in October.

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