MURFREESBORO, TN - The Certificate of Need to allow Vanderbilt University Medical Center to build and open a 48-bed hospital in Murfreesboro has been denied.
In April of 2020, the Nashville based medical provider announced plans for a new Rutherford County regional hospital to be built on property that was purchased by Vanderbilt near the intersection of I-840 and Veterans Parkway. The new facility was part of a multi-year regional growth plan under the Vanderbilt Health System. Public notice was filed with the state of Tennessee’s Health Services Development Agency to seek approval on a 154-thousand square foot full service, acute care hospital.
Plans to move forward with the project came to a sudden stop this week. John Howser, Chief Communications Officer for Vanderbilt, told WGNS on Thursday morning, “Our certificate of need was denied. We are very disappointed in the decision, and we are currently reviewing all available options. VUMC continues to be committed to the Vanderbilt Rutherford Hospital project and to serving the patients of Rutherford County.”
When Vanderbilt announced plans to build a new hospital in Murfreesboro, their announcement was met with a strong sense of support, but also large dividing opposition to the proposal. A lot of the opposition came from other medical providers in the immediate area. The plans to build the new Vanderbilt Hospital were also announced around the same time that Ascension-Saint Thomas Rutherford was in the planning stages of designing the now open Westlawn campus, which is an extension of Saint Thomas Rutherford.
In November of 2021, Attorney Warren L. Gooch wrote the Executive Director of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, suggesting Vanderbilt "hurriedly" submitted applications to establish a full service hospital in Murfreesboro. The letter showed that Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, opposed the certificate of need application filed by "Vanderbilt Rutherford Hospital." You can read that letter here.
In the letter written by Attorney Gooch, it was highlighted that Saint Thomas Rutherford has served the local community for over 90-years. It also showed that Saint Thomas Health invested over $500-million in new capital projects in Murfreesboro since 2006.
The original announcement from Vanderbilt highlighting their plans to build in Murfreesboro stated, “The new facility would serve as a hub for Vanderbilt Health’s inpatient needs and support its growing list of ambulatory and outpatient surgical services already in Rutherford County.” You can see the press release here.
Vanderbilt owns 79-acres of land that is across the road and adjacent to the new Westlawn Hospital. Vanderbilt purchased the acreage on April 15, 2021 for $8-million - almost one-year after the Saint Thomas property was purchased. The land sits at 1803 Blackman Road in Murfreesboro. The Nashville based medical provider has not announced plans on what they intend to do with the property since the proposed 48-bed facility was turned down earlier this week.