Maury Regional Hospital has launched a campaign in opposition of the $103 million healthcare facility that Hospital Corporation of America has proposed to build in the Spring Hill area over the next few years.
"There is a saying that something isn't appreciated until it is lost," said W. Walters of Maury Regional Hospital and Marshall Medical Center to his audience of Commissioners.
Walters explained the fear of the negative impact that the Spring Hill hospital will not only have on Maury Regional, but the Maury County community and other surrounding hospitals and their communities.
Maury Regional currently owns Marshall Medical Center, Wayne Medical Center and the Lewis Ambulatory Care Clinic. According to Dr. Timothy Nash of Marshall Medical Center, the reality is that many referrals are made to Maury Regional by physicians at Marshall Medical and likely by physicians at other surrounding hospitals as well, yet the county's only hospital is nowhere near maximum capacity.
"Sixty-two percent is where we are currently. We have a lot of beds available right now," said Walters.
Williamson County is in the process of undergoing a major expansion that will cost an estimated $83 million and will result in an additional 59 beds. With Maury Regional and Williamson Medical Center being less than 15 miles away from the central portion of Spring Hill, Walters argued that the need for the hospital is not great.
"HCA must show that there is a need for the hospital and that they aren't duplicating services in the area," Walters said.
Both Maury Regional and Williamson Medical Center have worked with the City of Spring Hill, the Maury County Commission and the Williamson County Commission to station ambulance services at the northern and southern tips of the city. Each span a little over a mile from the boarder allowing the citizens of Spring Hill immediate medical attention.
Representatives from an organization called Coalition4Care, which is a conglomerate of healthcare providers throughout southern Middle Tennessee, was also on hand to present their point-of-view at the meeting.
They told the Marshall County Commission that their goal is not competition, but rather it is to secure the revenue needed to continue the neighboring hospitals' quality of care. The loss of revenue could affect each hospital's ability to provide new services, invest in state-of-the-art technology and also provide cost-effective healthcare.
Walters admitted to the Commission that while Marshall Medical has lost money over the last four years 'to the tune of about $300,000 per year', Maury Regional has no plans to sell even if the Spring Hill Hospital is approved by the state on July 26.
Walters said that Maury Regional would continue with the further development of Marshall Medical Center.
"We put in a new MRI machine worth $1 million. Today at noon, the Board of Trustees voted to spend $600,000 for a new CAT scan, " he said.
A new surgeon with an Ivy League degree is also scheduled to join Marshall Medical Center's staff in July.
"He has more training than the heart surgeon at Maury Regional," said Walters.
Both Walters and Dr. Nash urged the Commission to join in opposing the new hospital by approving a resolution such as the Williamson County Commission, the Waynesboro County Commission, the Nolensville City Council, the Williamson County of Public Health Committee, the Lewisburg City Council, the Lewis County Commission, the Columbia City Council and the Maury Regional Hospital Medical Staff Executive Committee.
Marshall County Commissioner Jennifer Harris suggested that the resolution be worded to show support for Marshall Medical Center 'without being absolutely negative towards Spring Hill'.
"I think that it is great that the Coalition mentioned that this isn't about competition, but rather to protect what we have," said Harris.
The resolution will come before the Marshall County Commission during their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, June 26. Concerned citizens are urged to contact their district's commissioner.