Opponents Seek to Stop Fast-Track Bill Allowing New Hospital

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014                           

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-749-0529 (c), 517-487-9320 (o)

Opponents seek to derail fast-track bill allowing McLaren to build hospital that state calls unneeded

LANSING, Mich. – Opponents today lined up to testify against legislation that would allow McLaren Health Care to build a hospital tower in Clarkston, even though the state and the courts have denied the project, saying it is not needed.

They included a broad range of representatives from Michigan business, consumer, hospital, payer, union and other groups – all members of Friends of Certificate of Need. The group actively supports the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) review process as an effective tool to avoid unnecessary costs while improving access to quality health services.

Testifying in opposition to the bill was John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association, which joined Friends of Certificate of Need immediately after the Sept. 16 introduction of the carve-out bill, Senate Bill 1073.

“(McLaren) is picking winners and losers among patients,” Karebian said in reference to McLaren moving beds from its hospital in Pontiac to affluent Clarkston.

“McLaren is trying to do an end run around the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) approval process, which has repeatedly rejected McLaren’s plan to build a $300 million, 200-bed hospital tower in northern Oakland County,” said Bret Jackson, president of the Economic Alliance for Michigan, the state’s only business-labor coalition. “No matter that the plan would drive up the cost of health care across the state and undermine the CON process, which was specifically created to minimize health care increases.”

Under its original February 2012 Certificate of Need application, which was denied by the Michigan Department of Community Health, McLaren asked to move 200 unused beds from its McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac to a new hospital in Clarkston. McLaren filed suit in June 2013 to reverse the decision to deny the application, but Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O’Brien ruled against McLaren in December.

Opponents say rapidly rising health care costs due to unneeded projects such as McLaren’s proposed hospital place increasing pressure on employers to reduce jobs, cut benefits and/or increase costs for workers.

“The trend in health care across the nation is for less hospitalization,” Roger W. Spoelman, regional president and CEO of CHE Trinity Health West Michigan, testified.

Mark Lemoine, director of system government affairs for Spectrum Health, said: “Senate Bill 1073 is not simply an issue limited to a few hospitals in Oakland County. It affects all health systems, businesses and residents across the state.”

The committee adjourned without taking a vote.

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