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Judge: No additional beds for Kadlec, Trios

A Benton County Superior Court judge on Friday turned down Kadlec Regional Medical Center’s request to add another 59 licensed acute care beds, the latest action in a years-long fight by the Richland hospital to add patient beds.
A Benton County Superior Court judge on Friday turned down Kadlec Regional Medical Center’s request to add another 59 licensed acute care beds, the latest action in a years-long fight by the Richland hospital to add patient beds. Tri-City Herald

Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland won’t get the additional licensed patient beds it’s been seeking for several years — at least not at this time.

A Benton County Superior Court judge on Friday upheld a state Department of Health bed award decision from 2010.

Kadlec had asked the judge to review the state’s decision, saying it was in error and that the hospital should have been awarded all 114 beds it requested.

Instead, it was awarded a little fewer than half.

During a brief hearing Friday, Judge Cameron Mitchell said that, “It’s important, I believe, to remember that the court’s role in this case is to determine, based on the record presented at the time, whether the (health department’s) decisions — which were eventually affirmed by a review officer — were arbitrary and capricious.”

It wasn’t proved that they were, Mitchell said.

Kadlec can appeal his ruling. Another option is to make a new application to the state for more patient beds.

A Kadlec spokesman said hospital officials are disappointed.

“The need (for additional beds) clearly still exists, and we’ll review our options for what makes the best sense to best serve our patients,” Jim Hall said.

The need (for additional beds) clearly still exists, and we’ll review our options for what makes the best sense to best serve our patients.

Jim Hall, Kadlec spokesman

Trios Health in Kennewick also was party to the review and argued that the state’s 2010 decision was correct.

“There’s a reason it was decided that way (multiple) times previously,” Trios spokeswoman Lisa Teske said, referring to the original decision and subsequent reviews. “We appreciate the decision of the court and hope we can move on.”

Kadlec made its bed request in 2009, filing a Certificate of Need application. A Certificate of Need is required for a hospital to add more licensed beds.

Trios Health, which then was called Kennewick General Hospital, asked for 25 additional beds around the same time.

The state rejected Trios’ request. It approved 55 more beds for Kadlec.

Years of litigation followed, with Kadlec arguing that the state should have used different calculations in determining the need for more beds.

270 licensed Kadlec patient beds

101 licensed Trios patient beds

The Benton-Franklin area’s population growth outstrips statewide numbers, and its aging population in particular is swelling, Kadlec argued.

Kadlec’s occupancy rate also is above the state target for a facility its size, the hospital said.

“The (state health) department erred in denying Kadlec’s request for additional beds, beyond the 55 approved. The population served by Kadlec has need for additional beds at Kadlec ... and other facilities are not or will not be sufficiently available or accessible to meet that need,” the hospital said in its request for the judicial review.

Trios argued the calculations used were appropriate, and said granting Kadlec the full 114 beds would gobble up the new bed supply in the region for years and stymie Trios’ growth.

Trios argued the calculations used to calculate Tri-City needed patient beds were appropriate and said granting Kadlec the full 114 beds would gobble up the new bed supply in the region for years and stymie Trios’ growth.

If Mitchell determined more hospital beds were needed in the area, Trios would have asked for 25 more beds.

Mitchell didn’t award Trios any additional beds in his ruling.

Kadlec now has 270 licensed beds, including the 55 the state awarded in 2010.

The hospital is in the midst of adding four stories to its River Pavilion — two floors for acute care and two for intensive care.

The decision Friday doesn’t stop that project, which is expected to be completed next fall, Hall said.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @SaraTCHerald

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