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Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

FARGO, N.D.— San­ford Health broke ground last week on its $541 mil­lion San­ford Fargo Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The 1.2-mil­lion-square-foot, 460-bed fa­cil­ity is con­sid­ered one of the largest health­care con­struc­tion projects that will start this year, and San­ford used the oc­ca­sion to hold a cel­e­bra­tion for em­ploy­ees that in­cluded a per­for­mance by the band Train as well as fire­works and re­marks by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dal­rym­ple. The new 10-story fa­cil­ity is sched­uled to open in 2016 and will cover al­most 30 acres. It will in­clude 347 clin­i­cal exam rooms and 77 pro­ce­dure rooms, ac­cord­ing to a San­ford news re­lease. North Dakota is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an oil-re­lated eco­nomic and pop­u­la­tion boom, and San­ford re­ports that its ex­ist­ing Fargo fa­cil­i­ties saw a 9% in­crease in hospi­tal ad­mis­sions in 2011 and an 8% in­crease in emer­gency vis­its in the past year. Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, “af­ter con­tin­ued eval­u­a­tion of lo­cal mar­ket needs,” San­ford de­cided to in­crease the size of the project, which at one time was pro­jected to be built with 371 rooms at a cost of $360 mil­lion. San­ford is a 20-hospi­tal in­te­grated sys­tem and has main­tained dual head­quar­ters in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo since it merged with the North Dakota-based Mer­itcare Health Sys­tem in 2009. San­ford re­cently an­nounced it would in­vest $200 mil­lion in western North Dakota, and its plan calls for build­ing a “su­perclinic” in the city of Dickinson that would of­fer am­bu­la­tory surgery and di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices. JEF­FER­SON CITY, Mo.—

The Mis­souri Supreme Court ruled that the state Leg­is­la­ture’s $350,000 cap on noneco­nomic med­i­cal mal­prac­tice dam­ages is an il­le­gal vi­o­la­tion of res­i­dents’ con­sti­tu­tional right to a trial by jury. A di­vided court on July 31 over­turned the court’s own 20-year-old de­ci­sion to up­hold caps on noneco­nomic dam­ages. The court ruled that the mother of Naython Watts, who was born in 2006, was en­ti­tled to the full $1.45 mil­lion in noneco­nomic dam­ages that a jury awarded her af­ter con­clud­ing that physi­cians for Cox Med­i­cal Cen­ters pro­vided neg­li­gent care. The trial judge re­duced the jury’s ver­dict to $350,000, as re­quired by state law. The boy’s mother, Deb­o­rah Watts, ap­pealed, say­ing the caps vi­o­lated the state con­sti­tu­tion. At­tor­neys for Cox Health ar­gued in court that a 1992 de­ci­sion from the Mis­souri Supreme Court up­held the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of 2005 tort re­forms lim­it­ing med­i­cal mal­prac­tice awards for claims such as pain and suf­fer­ing. But Chief Jus­tice Richard Teit­el­man said the pre­vi­ous rul­ing was wrong, cit­ing sim­i­lar court de­ci­sions to over­turn leg­isla­tive mal­prac­tice dam­age caps in states such as Wash­ing­ton (1989), Ore­gon (1999), Alabama (1991) and Florida (1987). Teit­el­man wrote that the cap on dam­ages vi­o­lated cit­i­zens’ “in­vi­o­lable” right to a jury trial un­der the state con­sti­tu­tion by re­mov­ing a jury’s abil­ity to de­cide the mag­ni­tude of dam­age. Cox Health of­fi­cials said they were dis­ap­pointed in the de­ci­sion. “Nearly ev­ery physi­cian and ev­ery hospi­tal in the state will be ad­versely af­fected by this rul­ing,” Cox Health said in a state­ment. “Our great­est con­cern lies with how this will af­fect physi­cians in our state.” HUNTLEY, Ill.—

Cen­te­gra Health Sys­tem, Crys­tal Lake, Ill., re­ceived state ap­proval for a planned 128-bed hospi­tal in Huntley. The ap­proval came af­ter the board voted last year to deny the plan twice, and it’s the sec­ond new hospi­tal that’s not a re­place­ment fa­cil­ity that the board has ap­proved in 30 years. The other was Ad­ven­tist Bol­ing­brook (Ill.) Hospi­tal, which was ap­proved in 2004 and opened in 2008. Plans for the Huntley hospi­tal, Cen­te­gra’s third, call for a six-floor fa­cil­ity that would cost $232.2 mil­lion and open in 2015, ac­cord­ing to Cen­te­gra’s ap­pli­ca­tion to the Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board. The board ap­proved the cer­tifi­cate of need 6 to 3. “Res­i­dents of south­ern McHenry County and north­ern Kane County need bet­ter ac­cess to hospi­tal care, and the state rec­og­nized that,” Cen­te­gra Health Sys­tem CEO Michael Ees­ley said in a news re­lease. Sys­tem of­fi­cials say pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions for the area sup­port the need for a new hospi­tal. Cen­te­gra first brought the pro­posal to the state board in 2000. Ad­vo­cate Health Care, Provena Health and Alex­ian Broth­ers Health Sys­tem all voiced op­po­si­tion to the board, say­ing the pro­posed hospi­tal would be too close to their fa­cil­i­ties. The hospi­tal will be built at an ex­ist­ing Cen­te­gra health and well­ness cam­pus. It will in­clude 100 med­i­cal sur­gi­cal beds, an eight-bed ICU, full emer­gency depart­ment with a Level II trauma cen­ter, Level II spe­cial-care nurs­ery and non­in­va­sive car­di­ol­ogy ser­vices.

Em­ploy­ees break ground for the San­ford Fargo Med­i­cal Cen­ter, one of this year’s largest health­care con­struc­tion projects.

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