Lawmakers hear more information on a request to add beds at Regions Hospital

A joint hearing of the House and Senate Health and Human Services Committees was held this week to hear preliminary findings on whether a request by Regions Hospital to add more beds is in the public interest.

Regions Hospital in St. Paul has asked the Legislature for permission to add 100 more beds in their facility over the next 22 years. Regions representatives have informed lawmakers that they consistently run at full or near-full capacity, arguing that it is critical that they are able to bring new beds online as soon as possible. Regions is the only level one adult and pediatric trauma center in the East Metro.

Current law restricts the addition of new hospital beds unless the Legislature grants an exemption.  Several years ago, lawmakers created a public interest review process completed by the Department of Health (MDH) to help inform their decisions when requests for exemptions arise. The final report from MDH may not be completed before the end of Session so lawmakers received an update on the Department’s preliminary findings.

MDH revealed that the request for the full 100 beds will not be found to be in the public interest. Several lawmakers discussed the range of actions the Legislature could take in light of the finding, including adhering to the decision of the public interest review; disregarding the public interest review process, which is non-binding; or approving an exemption for fewer beds. Members committed to working with Regions over the next few weeks to see if a solution that works for all stakeholders can be found. (SF 2892)