State approves plans for freestanding emergency department in Hartselle
Citizens of Hartselle are one step closer to having emergent care available closer to home as plans for a freestanding department to be built at Hartselle Health Park were approved today.
The State Health Planning & Development Agency Certificate of Need Review Board approved Cullman Regional’s application at its meeting in Montgomery. The approval sets in motion an estimated 12-month construction phase to complete the new healthcare facility, which will serve Hartselle and south Morgan County communities, according to a press release by Cullman Regional.
“We appreciate the CON Review Board’s careful consideration and are pleased with today’s decision,” James Clements, Cullman Regional CEO said. “We’re proud to serve the Hartselle area and are grateful for the tremendous community support shown for this project.”
Mayor Randy Garrison said city leaders have been concerned about the city being without a hospital or emergency department. Closed by the Huntsville Hospital Health System in 2012, the city’s only hospital was demolished last year.
“There is overwhelming support for this facility, especially by the number of letters of support sent into the Certificate of Need board by local citizens,” Garrison said at the board meeting today. “Seconds and minutes count in a health crisis such as a stroke or heart attack, or other natural health issues or with an accidental, vehicle, industrial or school related incident.
“The community needs additional healthcare facilities, (and) while I know another hospital is not an option for the near future, (a) local ER care can and will make a difference in lives being changed and saved,” he added.
The 17,934 square-foot facility will be located at Hartselle Health Park on Highway 31 in Hartselle. Just like a hospital-based emergency department, the Hartselle Health Park ER will operate 24/7 and will be staffed with board certified emergency medicine physicians capable of caring for patients in critical medical conditions. It will offer on-site imaging including MRI and CT as well as lab and pharmacy services. The facility will also be equipped with an ambulance bay and a helipad.
In 2021, Cullman Regional opened Hartselle Health Park and has since added multiple outpatient services including two physician clinics, a diagnostic imaging center and an urgent care clinic.
“Freestanding emergency departments are especially important for communities without a hospital,” said Dr. Bill Smith, chief medical officer at Cullman Regional. “This project means Hartselle residents will not have to leave their community for life-saving emergency services.”
There are several other freestanding emergency departments in Alabama including Mobile, Auburn and the Birmingham area.