Patients First Health Care plans to operate a three-bed hospital at its facility in Washington.
The doctor group told the St. Louis Business Journal that it plans to build an addition on the east side of the present building to operate a 24-hour emergency department and a three-bed hospital.
If Patients First can do the project for less than $1 milion it does not need a Certificate of Need (CN) from the state. State approval if it costs more than $1 million is unlikely.
Director of Research Karen Roth of the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition told the Business Journal that it has determined that there is a surplus of hospital beds in the metropolitan area. She said surplus beds exist more in the St. Louis area than in other metro regions that have more population. Roth said there is an excess of about 2,500 inpatient beds in the St. Louis region. A new hospital would increase that excess, Roth said, which in turn would further burden community resources.
Tom Piper, director of Missouri's CON program, told the Business Journal that the state oversight agency agreed with the Health Coalition's findings. "We would support the findings that there are more than enough beds in the region," Piper told the Business Journal.
Terri McLain, president of St. John's Mercy Hospital, told the Business Journal there is no need for another hospital in the community and she mentioned that health care officials have long called the St. Louis region over-bedded. St. John's in Washington is licensed for 187 beds and usually has 55 to 60 beds in use daily. Census has been higher than that on occasions.
Patients First plans to open its three-bed hospital by the end of the year. In the meantime, St. John's Mercy Hospital plans to expand its emergency department since it is seeing more than 30,000 patients a year in that department.
The Business Journal story mentioned that four Patients First cardiologists had their privileges revoked at St. John's. McLain said that Patients First said they no longer were going to bring their heart patients to St. John's. She said staff privileges were revoked because Patients First's contract with another hospital group, SSM, presented "a conflict of interest that interfered with patient care." She added that St. John's did not anticipate any other physican memberships being revoked.
The Missourian contacted Patients First Friday morning about its plans and was told there would be a press conference at 11 a.m.