State regulators this week granted Parkridge Health System a certificate of need, which is akin to a permit, to build a new freestanding emergency department off U.S. Highway 27 in Soddy-Daisy.
The more-than-$16-million facility would become a satellite facility for Parkridge Medical Center and represent the northernmost access point to emergency services in Hamilton County. Groundbreaking will bring the number of emergency departments in the county that are operated or under construction by Parkridge up to five — more than any other Chattanooga-based health system.
To receive a certificate of need, health care providers must prove that there’s a need for the services before certain projects can be undertaken.
Officials from both CHI Memorial and Rhea Medical Center opposed the project before the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission during a Wednesday meeting, arguing that a new freestanding emergency department in the area wasn’t necessary and would duplicate services.
However, numerous Soddy-Daisy and Hamilton County residents have voiced support for the project, including county Mayor Weston Wamp, who sent a letter of support to the facilities commission.
Logan Grant, executive director of the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission, said via email that even though Parkridge received a certificate, either or both of the opposing entities may file an appeal within 15 days of approval.
“The CON is granted, but sometimes the CON-holder will wait until an appeal is resolved before beginning construction,” Grant said. “That will be a decision for the CON-holder.”
Parkridge did not give a timeline for when the project would be complete, but the news release said “groundbreaking and construction are expected soon.”
(READ MORE: Parkridge plans $16 million freestanding emergency room in Soddy-Daisy)
In a news release issued Thursday, Tom Ozburn, president and CEO of Parkridge Health System, said that the new facility would improve emergency service access in one of the fastest-growing areas of northern Hamilton County.
“The convenient location will provide high-quality emergency services with access to a higher level care through Parkridge Medical Center and the entire Parkridge Health System,” Ozburn said.
The 11,000-square-foot emergency department would include 12 beds, a trauma room, diagnostic capabilities and support services — including CT, X-ray, on-site laboratory, pharmacy and radiology support. A helipad will also be onsite in case emergency air transportation is needed.
The Soddy-Daisy ER would provide the same level of emergency services as Parkridge’s other Chattanooga-based facilities, including board-certified physicians and nursing staff trained in emergency care, according to the release.
“I would like to thank the Soddy-Daisy and north Hamilton County communities for their support in this effort,” Ozburn said. “Without their help, this project wouldn’t have been possible.”
Contact Elizabeth Fite at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 423-757-6673. Follow her on Twitter at @ecfite.