Central Peninsula Hospital gets state approval for big expansion

With the approval of two different applications required for the Central Peninsula Hospital expansion plan last week, the project is moving forward.

The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services approved CPH’s Certificate of Need on Jan. 8 giving it the OK to build the 87,981-square-foot expansion. The certificate was required for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to get its revenue bond application approved, which the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank did on Jan. 9.

“It’s been a long, tough road, but we’re happy to be where we are,” Rick Davis, Central Peninsula Hospital CEO, said about the certificate approval.

In November, the state denied part of the hospital’s certificate request and approved a conditional certificate. Davis submitted a revised budget as requested by the state for further approval of the conditional certificate in December as well as answers to follow up questions from the state.

With the additional information, the state has authorized the hospital to build the expansion to house an oncology area; specialty clinics for pain management, neurology and general surgery; and physical rehabilitation space among other services.

The state previously denied approval of endoscopy suites and imagining services — MRI and CT scans. Approval for those planned services now hinges on the hospital submitting additional information and making a request for determination to the state as to whether a Certificate of Need is required for those services.

“As far as the imaging goes, CT scan, I think that one is very, very important for us to get eventually because a CT scan is really a life and death piece of equipment,” Davis said.

However, the state did approve 7,400 square feet of “shelled in space,” which would be used for endoscopy and imaging services.

“Even though they didn’t allow it at this point, there’s a future,” Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said. “It’s a 40-year facility. We expect that we’ll need (the services) and be able to provide additional justification to the commissioner’s office under the CON process to get approval for it at some point in the not too distant future.”

The bonds for the project will be priced in February, Navarre said, so until then the borough won’t know the exact interest rate. But he said it looks like a 15-year term gives the borough a “good rate” and makes the most fiscal sense.

Navarre said the next steps in the expansion plans are putting the project out to bid and selling the bonds — both likely to happen in February.

Kaylee Osowski is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.