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Proposed hospital update


Just over two months ago, the five-member Iowa Health Facilities Council unanimously rejected an application by Iowa Health-Des Moines to build a 83-bed hospital in West Des Moines.

Iowa Health officials say the new hospital is needed to relieve a shortage of available patient beds at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in downtown Des Moines. Building the Michael R. Myers Hospital would be more cost-effective than renovating Iowa Methodist, say hospital officials.

The hospital would be built in the Lakeview Medical Park at University Avenue and 60th Street, where Iowa Health operates the Lakeview Medical Park Building, Lakeview Ambulatory Surgery Center and Des Moines Orthopedic Surgeons. About 37 of the park’s 40 acres are available for the new hospital.

Under state law, Iowa Health will have 30 days from the time the Iowa Department of Public Health releases its formal report to decide whether it will appeal. That report has not yet been released. The Business Record spoke with Sid Ramsey, vice president of strategic business development and marketing for Iowa Health-Des Moines, about the project.

Q: What’s been happening with the project?

A: Over the last couple of months, we’ve just taken a step back to take a look at what we see as major trends. Nothing has really changed as far as the need for inpatient beds. We’ll have to look ahead as far as how we can meet those needs.

Q: Does Iowa Health plan to appeal to the Health Facilities Council?

A: Certainly it’s an option. The report has not been received by us yet. I don’t think we’ll make a decision on it until we get the written report. I would imagine within the next few weeks we’ll be seeing it. We’re still just considering all of our options, and how best to meet those needs going forward.

Q: Is there any concern that Mercy will move forward with a hospital in West Des Moines?

A: All we can do is take their word that they wouldn’t move forward sooner than five years.

Q: At the time the Health Facilities Council denied Iowa Health’s application, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said there ought to be a long-term study to determine health-care needs for the entire region. Is there a need for any more study on this?

A: A lot of it depends on what we get back from the state in terms of the written opinion. I think it’s fair to say that whatever we do will be in the best interest of the community. And anything we do, we’ll be interested in talking with lots of people as to the best ways of meeting community health needs. From sitting down to talk to local leaders, patients …. If that’s called community planning, we’re very interested in doing that.   

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