Area Hospital Continues Fight For More Beds

Officials at Ocean Springs Hospital say they're seeing more patients, as the area's population grows.

But the State Supreme Court recently denied a request for more beds, which frustrates Singing River Hospital System CEO Chris Anderson.

"We are licensed for 136 beds at Ocean Springs Hospital, which means we can take care of 136 in patients. There have been roughly a dozen times over the past couple of months where we had more demand for beds than we can accommodate," said Anderson.

That's why in 2003, officials requested 60 licensed beds to be transferred from Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula to the O.S. facility on Bienville Boulevard. Both hospitals are part of the same system.

"Singing River Hospital is doing great. They see over 200 patients a day, but we have a license for 400. We were simply saying that as the community has grown in the central part of the Coast. It makes more sense to move that license to the hospital that needs the beds and that's Ocean Springs Hospital," said Anderson.

And the State Department of Health had determined that the Ocean Springs hospital needed the 60 extra beds.

But the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Health used the wrong criteria to determine this hospital's needs. It means that after a three year long process, Ocean Springs Hospital is back to square one.

Several Harrison County hospitals sued the State Department of Health for giving the go ahead for the extra beds.

"It disturbs me that the hospitals over there that have opposed us, particularly Garden Park and Gulf Coast, are fighting us so strongly at a time when we're taking care of patients out of their community for them," said Anderson.

Anderson says Ocean Springs Hospital provides services which are not always available at other area hospitals. He believes if they do not get the beds they need to accommodate more patients, someone is going to get hurt.

"Our community needs these beds, and their community needs us to have these beds, and they need to support us in this effort. It is definitely not over," said Anderson.

WLOX made calls to those Harrison County hospitals involved in the lawsuit, and only received a response from William Peaks, the CEO of Garden park Medical Center.

Peaks said, "We appreciate Singing River Hospital Systems' efforts to improve their business opportunities. All hospitals on the Coast must follow the requirements set forth by the State Department of Health's certificate of need process."