Erlanger and Tennova’s Proposals Denied

Proposals to Build New Freestanding Emergency Departments in Bradley County Both Denied

Both of Tennova’s and Erlanger Health System’s Certificate of Need (CON) applications to build a new, freestanding emergency department in Bradley County was denied this morning. After presenting their proposals in front of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency (THSDA) in Nashville early today, votes against both projects were 6-2. 

THSDA board member Dr. Kenneth Patric voiced that it does not make sense to argue the need for one facility and not the other. He was also said that he was “inclined not to approve either one" because "creating more EDs is not the answer to health care system problems."

At the hearing, Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said that the need for a new Bradley County ED is clear because Erlanger treats more than 25,000 patients annually from Bradley and Polk Counties. 

Tennova retaliated by saying that patient transfers to Erlanger are not because of poor care, but because patients seek specific services, which is normal. 

According to the CEO of Starr Regional Medical Center, which has facilities in Athens or Etowah, Tennova’s need is not additional ED beds, but to operate the beds they have more efficiently and effectively.  

Following the vote, both CEOs had some thoughts to share.

Spiegel said, “We are disappointed for the citizens of Bradley and Polk Counties, and most of all for the uninsured and underinsured who are most vulnerable. There is no question these proposals would have significantly improved the health of those communities as well as economic development in Bradley County if both had been approved."

Foss had this to say:

"Though disappointed in the outcome, we respect the decision of Health Services Development Agency's board. We have a long-standing history of providing quality care to our community and will always to work to be the provider of choice for local residents. We will continue to focus on the development of access points to ensure the community has convenient access to care through the development of urgent care centers or other provider locations. We are proud to serve our growing community, and we remain committed to providing high quality healthcare close to home."

Times Free Press ‘s health care reporter Elizabeth Fite tweeted out details from the hearing on Wednesday morning. For more information, visit: