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KDMC expansion clears a hurdle

The Mississippi state office of the U.S. Department ofAgriculture has approved a plan by King’s Daughters Medical Centerto expand its facilities, but the funding process is far fromcomplete, a hospital official said.

Approval by the state USDA office is one step of many that stillneed to be completed before the expansion can move forward, saidPhillip Grady, KDMC’s chief executive officer.

Ken Stribling, a USDA spokesman, agreed and said federalapproval appeared promising.

“We’ve got our stamp of approval on it, but it hasn’t beenapproved yet in Washington,” he said. “We feel very positive thatsomething will be done on this.”

He said the department’s consent on the state level essentiallyapproves the preapplication and the full application must beapproved by the USDA in Washington. The full application is beingprepared now by county, hospital and state USDA officials.

“We’re excited to reach this point in the process,” Grady said.”Once we get final approval from Washington and our certificate ofneed, this project is going to greatly benefit the citizens ofLincoln County.”

The hospital, which is seeking a $9 million USDA loan, will usethe funding to create a new emergency department, intensive careunit and a 10-bed patient unit as well as the renovation ofexisting patient rooms. The project will also add a sprinklersystem for fire suppression to the second and third floors, a newpharmacy and a helipad.

The total project is estimated at $11 million. The hospital willfund the $2 million difference between the total and loanamounts.

“The county has actually made the application, and the loan issecured through hospital revenue,” Grady said, adding that heappreciated all of the work by county and state officials inguiding the process to this point.

The next step, he said, is for the Mississippi Department ofHealth to complete an investigation on the need for theimprovements.

“You have to demonstrate there is a need for the capitalexpenditures or new services you want to create,” Grady said. “Inour case, its the capital expenditures they’re looking at.”

That investigation, which is designed to prevent hospitals fromover-saturating an area with the same services, is expected to becompleted by the end of August or mid-September, he said.