Local health system files appeal to stop construction of Erlanger mental health hospital

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Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Parkridge Valley Health System officials filed an appeal with the state to prevent Erlanger Health System, also in Chattanooga, from building a new mental health hospital in the area, according to the Times Free Press.

Erlanger received state approval for the 88-bed facility on Aug. 24. The health system said its emergency room is often filled with patients suffering from mental health issues, but are ineligible to be transferred to other facilities because of the lack of beds, according to the article. Erlanger officials said a new hospital will solve the problem.

ParkridgeValley, which owns two behavioral health facilities in the area, said the construction of a new hospital won't solve the issue. Parkridge Valley CEO Darrell Moore said in a statement that the issue is the lack of behavioral health officials. A collaborative approach between the two health systems would pose a better solution to the issues plaguing the community, according to Mr. Moore.

Under state law, an administrative law judge will first attempt to mediate the differences between the two parties. If mediation fails, a hearing will be conducted within the next 180 days, with an opinion issued no more than 60 days following the hearing. If the two institutions cannot mediate their differences, they will be forced to wait up to eight months or longer for a decision regarding construction of a new facility, according to the article.

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