Effort ongoing to construct new hospital

As opposed to a sprint, the effort to construct a new hospital in Chilton County is more like a marathon.

Though there have been no significant announcements recently, health care officials continue to work toward the facility, to be operated by St. Vincent’s Health System and located adjacent to the local Jefferson State Community College center.

The Certificate of Need tied to the old Chilton Medical Center location expired last month, and Allen Payton with the Chilton County Hospital Board said the body is pursuing a new CON.

A Certificate of Need is a state-issued document affirming a plan for a health care facility is required to fulfill a community’s needs. A CON is required before any hospital could be opened.

The CON tied to Chilton Medical Center was for 60 beds. The state considers Chilton County’s “need” to be 10 beds, Payton said, and a private study concluded the county’s need to be 25 beds. However, officials plan to apply for a CON for 40 beds so that the hospital facility could accommodate future growth.

A feasability study and market analysis is being conducted by St. Vincent’s to help determine what Chilton County’s new hospital would look like and what services would be offered, Payton said. The study is supposed to be concluded later this month.

In the meantime, former CMC patients’ records remain available though the facility is closed.

Don Ball, the former court-appointed receiver at the property who is temporarily handling records, said people should send their records requests in the form of a letter addressed to Chilton Medical Center, P.O. Box 2220, Clanton, AL 35046.

Ball said he is receiving only a few requests each month.

“There has to be an official custodian of the records,” he said. “I am the custodian by default. What I am trying to get accomplished is to have the hospital board named the official custodian and have them sub-contract this out to a third party that has experience handling medical records.”

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