Construction of a controversial three-bed hospital in Washington, Mo., has been placed on hold as its developer, the physician group Patients First, negotiates possible integration with a larger health system.
The project is on hold during a 110-day exclusive and confidential negotiating period with SSM Health Care-St. Louis that was announced Sept. 21, according to Patients First spokeswoman Cara Knox. “It is our intention to keep quality health care options local for the patients and families of our community,” she said in an email.
Patients First, led by CEO Joseph Gubbels, got permission from state health planners to build the three-bed hospital last fall, when the group successfully petitioned the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee (MHFRC) to build without a Certificate of Need (CON) since the project fell under the $1 million CON threshhold. Mercy vehemently opposed the proposed hospital, to be built close to its Mercy Hospital Washington. The Patients First hospital was to be completed by the end of this year.
Facing changes in health care, Patients First announced layoffs this summer and put itself on the market for integration with a larger health system.
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