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Redmond pulls application for psych unit

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A frustrated Redmond Regional Medical Center CEO John Quinlivan is not sure whether or not the hospital will continue to seek an inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse unit after a third bid has been turned down by the state.

Redmond withdrew its latest application for a certificate of need for a 24-bed unit after the Department of Community Health notified Redmond of the state’s intent to reject the application. Redmond originally sought a 31-bed unit in 2014 and withdrew that application after the state indicated that it would be turned down. Hospital officials submitted an 18-bed unit application which was actually turned down by the state prompting an unsuccessful appeal of that application in July 2016.

“They did not, in my opinion, make a clear case why they were not going to approve it,” Quinlivan said.

In its decision to deny Redmond’s 2016 application for an 18-bed unit, Redmond claimed “the Department incorrectly gave undue weight and consideration to the low utilization of the existing providers in the planning area to the detriment of the needs of community residents that continue to seek inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse services outside their community in large numbers.”

Quinlivan said the outmigration of Northwest Georgia residents for psychiatric services is twice the state average.

Floyd Medical Center and Hamilton Medical Center are the only hospitals in the service delivery region which offer inpatient psych and substance abuse units.

FMC formally opposed the Redmond application, as it has on each of the two previous applications.

Hamilton did not oppose the latest application.

In Redmond’s response to FMC’s argument that there was no need for additional beds, Redmond officials wrote. “Together, FMC and HMC captured approximately 25 percent of SSDR 1 patients in 2016, meaning that three out of every four adult residents of SSDR 1, hospitalized for psychiatric and substance abuse problems, were treated in a hospital outside of the planning region.”

Wayne Senfeld, senior vice president of Willowbrooke at Floyd, said he believes there is a bit of a flaw in the numbers used by Redmond. “You’re looking at numbers that were attributed at a time prior to Floyd receiving Emergency Receiving Facility status,” Senfeld said. “Any patient that was in need of an involuntary placement, which is the majority of psych patients that hit your emergency room, would have been dispositioned out of the community. Now they can be taken care of inside the community.”

Willowbrooke at Floyd, located off Shorter Avenue, has a 53-bed unit and is a facility operated through a partnership between the Tanner Health System in Carrollton and Floyd Medical Center.

The Redmond CEO said he was not certain whether the hospital would continue to fight for a psych unit going forward. “We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars, we believe there is a compelling need and the Lt. Governor has said publicly he believes there is a need,” Quinlivan said. “We are re-evaluating, I’m not saying we will and I’m not saying we won’t, but we continue to believe there is a need.”

After the hospital decided to withdraw its application, Quinlivan said he met personally with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry and Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Judy Jackson to discuss the situation. “I think they (Berry and Jackson) both genuinely believe there is a compelling need for additional capacity in this region, but I think they were not able to overcome the organizational bureaucracy,” Quinlivan said.