Judge wants to block USA Health’s expansion in Baldwin County

Baldwin County

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – A decision is coming on the future of the proposed USA Mapp Family Campus in Fairhope and right now it’s not looking positive for USA officials.

The campus would be built at Highway 104 and Highway 181 just east of Fairhope. WKRG News 5 has been following this story since last year and USA Health has released the following statement as of Wednesday afternoon:

“Last Friday, we received the recommendation from the law judge reviewing the Certificate of Need (CON) matter related to USA Health’s expansion in Baldwin County. We are extremely disappointed that after the second longest CON hearing in Alabama’s history, if his recommendation is adopted, USA Health will be denied the opportunity to offer the citizens of Baldwin County an opportunity to receive access to the unique academic health care services we offer. Several services related to the specialty and pediatric procedures and surgery we plan to bring to Baldwin County are currently only offered in Mobile, meaning, residents currently have to travel to Mobile to receive those services.

This is particularly important to Baldwin County’s pediatric patients and their families as well as those that are currently paying too much for services which could be done in the proposed state of the art academic ambulatory surgical center in Baldwin County. Without this project, Baldwin County patients will pay higher co-payments and deductibles for ambulatory care procedures in Baldwin County.

After hours of testimony regarding the massive growth in Baldwin County over the past decade, the judge made very little reference to the impact of this growth and the increased demand for additional healthcare services for the increased population. Recent media articles show that Baldwin County had the largest growth of anywhere in Alabama and now is larger than Montgomery. We do not understand the failure to address this important fact or to stipulate that there is plenty of medical capacity to meet the overwhelming growth in Baldwin County. 

Without the proposed project, Baldwin County will be unable to address the needs of its residents through a cost-effective innovative model that has been implemented at both UCLA and Vanderbilt.  In addition, our ability to expand our residency and recruitment programs for new specialists will be adversely impacted. Like so many who live in this region, we have a very different view of how this growth impacts our community. This decision is the equivalent to saying additional road capacity is not necessary because Baldwin County already has roads. Yet this conclusion ignores that those roads are overcrowded and not able to handle future growth.

The judge’s recommendation will be presented to the CON review board in Montgomery later this summer. We are hopeful the board will reconsider some of the opinions placed within this ruling and examine the facts that justify the need for additional healthcare facilities in Baldwin County. As South Alabama’s only academic medical institution, we will continue to serve the best interests of our community as we are not motivated by profits but rather meeting the healthcare needs of the people. We believe that ultimately the CON Review Board will do the right thing and recognize the importance of this project and the overall Mapp Family USA Health campus to our community and will overturn the judge’s fundamentally flawed recommendation,” said Gary Mans, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications at USA Health.

Sources confirm the review board will meet again in June to decide what’s next.

USA Health sent WRG News 5 the following statement from the Mapp family, who donated the land the facility would be built on in Fairhope:

“We were disappointed in the judges’ recommendation to deny the CON Application of USA Health in Baldwin County. We were also surprised by the objection to this CON application by the dominant healthcare provider in Baldwin County. We are great believers in the free enterprise system where citizens have the right to choose.”
The Mapp Family

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