Valley Medical Center and Auburn Regional plan to appeal Department of Health's hospital bed decision
By DENNIS BOX
Covington Reporter Editor
January 6, 2011 · Updated 4:43 PM
Valley Medical Center and Auburn Regional Medical Center plan to appeal the Department of Health decision to deny the public hospital an additional 60 beds and Auburn 70 beds.
The state department released its decision Dec. 21 denying the certificate of need request for beds from Valley; also rejected was a request by Auburn Regional Medical Center for 70 beds.
MultiCare received approval of 58 beds for a hospital it is planning in Covington.
Auburn Regional announced today, Jan. 6, it would also appeal the department's decision.
The options available to Valley and Auburn Regional are a request for reconsideration, an administrative appeal and a superior court appeal or lawsuit.
According to Bart Eggen, executive director for the Department of Health, if a request for reconsideration is granted the department would open the process again by gathering information, hosting a public hearing and then releasing a decision.
Eggen noted that with the reconsideration process another decision would be released but, “it doesn’t necessarily have to be different.”
An administrative appeal is filed with the department’s adjudicative clerk office. Eggen said the administrative appeal is similar to a civil court proceeding with the filing of briefs and discovery.
There is a hearing presided over by a health law judge who renders a decision.
The final appeal action is superior court.
Valley and Auburn could file both a reconsideration and administrative appeal at the same time. One or both of those appeals would be completed prior to going to superior court.
At the Jan. 3 Valley board of commissioners meeting, Paul Hayes, executive vice president, said the staff had 28 days from Dec. 21 to decide which appeals to file.
Hayes told commissioners the staff was meeting with Auburn Regional officials this week to discuss the appeal.
Eggen stated in an e-mail if the reconsideration was granted all three decisions would be reviewed.
In an administrative appeal, Eggen said the department is the defendant and, “any party that has standing to participate in the appeal that supports the decision would join us in the defense. The other parties would bring the action against DOH.”
Hayes noted at the Jan. 3 meeting Valley believes the department used “flawed criteria” in reaching its decision. Haynes noted MultiCare had a 15-year horizon to demonstrate a need for the beds and Valley had seven years.
Eggen stated with a new hospital the department would “look out farther. But MultiCare was only asking for 58 beds and the bed need materialized in eight years.”
Eggen said the department’s analysis did not see a need for the beds requested by Valley.
Contact Covington Reporter Editor Dennis Box at email@example.com or 1-425-432-1209 (ext 5050).