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Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto, Inc. v. Mississippi State Department of Health And Methodist Healthcare-Olive Branch Hospital

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

March 30, 2017

BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-DESOTO, INC. d/b/a BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-DESOTO
v.
MISSISSIPPI STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND METHODIST HEALTHCARE-OLIVE BRANCH HOSPITAL

          Date of Judgment: 08/28/2015

         COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. DENISE OWENS TRIAL JUDGE.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BARRY K. COCKRELL.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: CASSANDRA S. WALTER KATHRYN RUSSELL GILCHRIST ALLISON TRELOAR JONES.

          MAXWELL, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is tasked with addressing Mississippians' healthcare through the State Health Plan and the certificate-of-need regulatory scheme. The State Health Plan sets the goals and criteria for healthcare in the state. And the certificate-of-need process ensures healthcare providers maximize access to quality healthcare, while minimizing cost and inefficiency.

         ¶2. Citing the 2014 State Health Plan, Methodist Healthcare - Olive Branch Hospital (Methodist) applied for a certificate of need (CON)-seeking approval to perform percutaneous coronary intervention(s), a type of cardiac procedure, at its Olive Branch hospital. But Baptist Memorial Hospital - DeSoto (Baptist)-a competing hospital from the same service area-contested Methodist's application. MSDH held a hearing and ultimately approved Methodist's application. Baptist appealed to the Hinds County Chancery Court. And after review, the chancellor affirmed MSDH's decision. Baptist now appeals to this Court.

         ¶3. On appeal, we give great deference to MSDH's decisions. And we affirm those decisions if supported by substantial evidence.[1] Here, we find substantial evidence that Methodist's application substantially complied with the State Health Plan and was consistent with its requirements. So we affirm.

         Background Facts and Procedural History

         ¶4. On July 29, 2010, Methodist applied for and was granted a CON. This CON authorized Methodist to construct a 100-bed, acute-care hospital in DeSoto County, Mississippi. The CON further allowed Methodist to provide diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac catheterizations. The hospital opened August 26, 2013, and began treating patients in December 2013. When Methodist was granted its CON in 2010, the Mississippi State Health Plan allowed healthcare providers to perform therapeutic cardiac catheterization(s) only if the provider had an on-site, open-heart-surgery program. But the State Health Plan was modified in 2014 to allow percutaneous coronary intervention(s) (PCI)-a type of therapeutic cardiac catheterization-without requiring an on-site, open-heart-surgery program.

         ¶5. In response, Methodist-whose on-site, open-heart-surgery program was not yet operational-applied for a separate CON to perform PCIs. MSDH reviewed Methodist's application and recommended to grant it. MSDH issued the statutorily required notice to the public and other healthcare providers in the service area.[2] And Baptist requested a public hearing, which was held on August 14 and 15, 2014.

         ¶6. The hearing focused on four of the nine criteria for the acquisition or control of therapeutic cardiac catheterization equipment and/or services, under Section 115.04 of the 2014 State Health Plan:

Criterion 1: the minimum population base required in the service area(s)
Criterion 2: the minimum number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures required annually
Criterion 7: the requirements for offering PCIs without an on-site, open-heart-surgery program
Criterion 9: the minimum number of diagnostic catheterization procedures required in the two most recent years, prior to an application, for existing diagnostic catheterization providers seeking to ...

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