Vanderbilt University Medical Center is appealing a state board’s rejection of its application to build a hospital in Murfreesboro, which is considered the state’s fastest growing city.
The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency’s board on Aug. 26 voted in favor of a motion to reject Vanderbilt’s certificate of need application. The hospital would have been located near a new Ascension Saint Thomas hospital that the board approved in the same meeting. Both hospitals are planned for the intersection of Veterans Parkway at Interstate 840.
The University of Tennessee’s Tennessee State Data Center last year ranked Murfreesboro as the state’s fastest growing city, based on U.S. Census Bureau data.
John Howser, Vanderbilt’s chief communications officer, said in a statement, “We have filed an appeal for the application.”
No timeline for the appeal process was provided.
Jim Christoffersen, the Health Services and Development Agency’s general counsel, said in an email that the motion to deny Vanderbilt’s application was made by R. G. “Rick” Chinn Jr. Voting to deny Vanderbilt were Chinn, Lisa Jordan, Keith Gaither and Todd Taylor. Voting in favor of Vanderbilt (considered a “no” vote against the motion to deny) were Thomas C. Alsup II and Douglas G. Scarboro.
Jordan made the motion to approve Saint Thomas and Chinn made the second, Christoffersen said. Voting in favor of Saint Thomas were Jordan, Gaither, Chinn, Alsup and Scarboro. Taylor cast a no vote.
Four board members abstained from both applications: Laura Brown, Jaclyn Harding, Paul Korth and Corey Ridgway.
Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital will have eight private inpatient medical beds that will be relocated from the main facility on Medical Center Parkway, according to the Health Services agency agenda. The satellite hospital also will have emergency treatment rooms; imaging equipment including CT, X-ray and ultrasound; laboratory services; and medical office space.
The project cost is $24.6 million for the hospital at the southwest corner of Veterans Parkway and Shores Road near the interstate.
Opposing Saint Thomas’ plan were Williamson Medical Center, Tri Star Stone Crest Medical Center and Hughston Clinic Orthopaedics.
The proposed Vanderbilt Rutherford Hospital would, if the appeal succeeds, have 48 full-service acute-care hospital beds, “the initiation of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheterization, and the initiation of neonatal intensive care services at an unaddressed site on Veterans Parkway,” the agenda says.
The Vanderbilt site is on the southeast corner of Veterans Parkway and I-840. The estimated cost is $134.3 million.
Opposing Vanderbilt were Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital, Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital, Tri Star Stone Crest Medical Center, Williamson Medical Center, The Surgical Clinic and Hughston Clinic Orthopaedics.
Saint Thomas spokesperson Anjali Sood released the following statement: “Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital’s Westlawn Satellite facility and Vanderbilt Rutherford Hospital are two distinctly different projects with significantly different objectives. As stated at the Health Services and Development Agency meeting on Aug. 26, Vanderbilt Rutherford Hospital duplicates more intensive and costly specialty services including cardiac catheterization labs, surgical services, labor and delivery and Level II NICU services that are offered by Saint Thomas Rutherford and other hospitals in the market who are not at capacity.
“Furthermore, this project would add additional inpatient beds to the four-county service area, which is expected to have a surplus of beds through at least 2024. This project also negatively impacts struggling rural hospitals including Saint Thomas River Park Hospital and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital.”