A central Iowa businessman is giving 15-million dollars to help Iowa Methodist build a new hospital in West Des Moines, but the state board that must approve the hospital’s construction doesn’t have an application for the project on file yet. Barb Nervig of the Iowa Department of Public Health is the administrator who works with that Health Facilities Council. Nervig has been on the job for 13 years, and there’s not been a new hospital proposed for Iowa during that time period. The only new hospital application on file is for a new hospital in North Liberty — an Iowa City suburb — and she says the board will consider the application in September. Nervig says a “letter of intent” must be filed with her office a month before a formal application for construction is submitted. Once she has reviewed the application and gotten all her questions answered, the Health Facilities Council has 90 days to have a hearing and rule whether a construction permit is granted. Nervig says over a year ago, an application was filed for a hospital at the same West Des Moines location that was discussed yesterday. The application, though, was put on hold as Iowa Methodist and Mercy Hospital in Des Moines discussed building a hospital as a joint venture. She says officials recently told the hospitals such a joint venture would violate the federal law antitrust law the seeks to prevent monopolies. Nervig has provided some advice to Iowa Methodist.She’s told Iowa Methodist to just update some of the details in its previous application and the process can get rolling. Nervig says four criteria must be met before construction of a new hospital may be approved. Nervig says the board must find there’s no “less cost” alternative; that modernization and sharing arrangements were explored; that existing facilities are being used to their fullest; and that patient care would suffer if the hospital’s not built. Michael R. Myers, a housing developer, yesterday pledged 15-million dollars to a new West Des Moines satellite hospital for Iowa Health Systems which operates Iowa Methodist, Iowa Lutheran and Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.
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