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CON for $175 million project filed in September

Baptist planning significant expansion in DeSoto County

SOUTHAVEN — With Southaven and other nearby cities posting explosive population growth and gaining a growing reputation as bedroom communities for Memphis, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto County, which just doubled the size of their facility with an expansion project in 2001, is proposing another 400,000 square feet of construction to add 100 critical and acute care beds.

A certificate of need (CON) was filed in September for the $175-million expansion, along with request for approval to add beds to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle in Columbus.

“These two projects represent a $215-million investment into the communities served by these two hospitals,” said David Hogan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baptist Memorial Health Care.

“Our community is just bursting at the seams,” said Bill Caldwell, chief operating officer at Baptist-DeSoto. The facility’s service area includes DeSoto, Benton, Marshall, Tate, Tunica and Panola counties in Mississippi, as well as the lower part of Shelby County in Tennessee. Over 200,000 people live in the area, an increase of more than 42,000 since the 1990 census.

The $40-million project completed in 2001 added a women’s hospital and a cancer center to the hospital’s offerings, expanding the labor and delivery services and radiation therapy. Open-heart surgery services were also incorporated into the expansion. A reconfigured diagnostic area is already scheduled to open early next year, consolidating mammography services, an open MRI, and other diagnostic tools.

The new multi-story addition includes relocating current services to the new construction and addition of 100 beds to the current 199 acute care beds and the 30-bed rehab unit, according to Caldwell.

The first floor of the new addition will house ER, pharmacy, laboratory and materials management services. The proposed second floor will consist of out-patient services, admissions area and business operations. General surgery, PICU, a GI lab and an expanded dialysis unit will make up the third floor offices. A newly constructed intensive care unit, with 36 regular ICU beds and 12 cardiovascular ICU beds, will take up the fourth floor, while the fifth floor will house a 48-bed step-down unit (where patients can transition from critical care to regular medical service).

The top four floors will each hold 48 medical-surgical beds, with a shell constructed at the very top for further expansion if needed. Renovations to the current 100,000-square-foot building will allow an expanded imaging department and other support services such as a much larger kitchen and dining facility, Caldwell said.

Construction likely won’t begin until early 2003 after the Mississippi Department of Health approves the additional beds, according to Caldwell. The plan is currently in the 30-day comment period, which ends Oct. 31, said Kelly Shannon, public relations officer for MSDH. A staff analysis will be published Nov. 15, and affected parties have until Dec. 5 to ask for a hearing on the CON, according to Shannon. If no hearings are requested, Dr. Brian Amy, succeeding Dr. Ed Thompson as the state health officer, will receive the application on Dec. 19.

“Hearings can add three months to the process,” said Shannon.

Caldwell doesn’t anticipate any difficulties obtaining the CON on schedule.

“I think we have fallen well within the criteria of the state health plan, and even before we submitted our plan, we consulted with the state commission of health,” said Caldwell.

With access to health care a continuing concern in Mississippi, Baptist-DeSoto seeks to offer care for north Mississippi residents that typically go to Memphis for specialized treatment. A search of the Baptist Memorial Hospital Web site, www.bmhcc.org, shows over 400

physicians with Southaven addresses.

“The additional space will allow us to provide North Mississippians with more high-level care services closer to home and make it more convenient to deliver and receive care,” said Hogan.

Contact MBJ contributing writer at Julie Whitehead at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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