Court upholds RRMC bid for adolescent psychiatric unit

Published 11:15 am Friday, October 12, 2012

The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld the state’s decision to allow River Region Medical Center to establish a 20-bed adolescent psychiatric unit on the second floor of the West Campus on North Frontage Road.

The state’s high court ruled 8-1 Thursday that the Mississippi State Department of Health’s approval in 2011 of a certificate of need, or CON, filed by the hospital was appropriate due to a subsection of state law that authorized such beds despite an earlier moratorium. All justices concurred with the decision except for Associate Justice Randy Pierce.

Louisville, Miss.-based Diamond Grove had appealed a decision in Hinds County Chancery Court that had upheld the health department’s approval.

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An application filed by River Region in 2010 showed construction would take about five months.

A five-day hearing by MSDH staff in November 2010 ended with the panel ruling the agency could approve the certificate if all other requirements of the application were met. River Region based its application to build the facility on a variety of factors, such as a stated “void” of inpatient psychiatric services for adolescents in its primary service area of Warren, Issaquena, Sharkey, Yazoo, Hinds, Claiborne and Copiah counties.

Diamond Grove had argued the law was enacted simply to authorize a one-time grant of a CON for Warren County and that it wasn’t intended to be valid indefinitely, read part of the decision.

In 2001, MSDH approved a similar facility for Brentwood Health Management, called Children’s Hospital of Vicksburg. The agency revoked the project in 2007 due to inaction on Brentwood’s part. The state’s high court in 2010 declined to hear an appeal of that ruling. Also in 2010, MSDH approved a CON to transfer 15 adolescent psychiatric beds to Brentwood from Diamond Grove, its sister company.