"I feel like what we really need is an acute care facility," he said after hearing of Saint Joseph's approval. "It's not Saint Joseph or Associated Healthcare's fault. It's the [state] CON office. It's how they do business ... they don't recognize our need."
Wilmore Mayor Harold Rainwater would also like to see a hospital in the county, but said knowing Saint Joseph is on board is a step in the right direction.
"I'm pleased that Jessamine County has better improved health care," he said. "I'd rather see a hospital, but I am pleased with the intermediate step. This is a wonderful company with a 125 year history of service to people, and I think it's a positive step for Jessamine County."
Last week, Jeff Barnett, deputy general counsel for the state's CON office, explained that CONs are on a cycle, with separate deadlines for ambulatory care-type facilities and hospitals.
He said the deadline for hospital CONs isn't until Sept. 27. Barnett also said the decision for hospital CONs would not be made until Feb. 14, 2007.
Associated has already submitted a CON for a hospital. Murphy said Saint Joseph will submit its CON before the September deadline.
Jessamine County Judge-Executive Wm. Neal Cassity said given those parameters, he was pleased with the first step.
"I think this is probably the most reasonable approach to it, in the fact we knew we couldn't apply for a hospital at this point," he said. "I think we'll get a hospital in the near future. As soon as population reaches the point where we can afford a hospital, I'm sure we'll get it. We certainly don't want a hospital that won't attract good doctors and nurses."
"We're kind of going from famine to feast," said Nancy Stone, executive director of the Jessamine Chamber of Commerce. "It's ratcheted up the health care for our community and that's exciting."
The CON for Saint Joseph's ambulatory care center did have some opposition.
Saint Joseph was subpoenaed by Associated and requested a public hearing on its CON application.
Beirne said the size of the proposed Saint Joseph facility was not in line with other ambulatory care facilities in the state.
However, during the public hearing, which was held in Frankfort, Administrative Law Judge Shaun T. Orme wrote in his summary "At the hearing no evidence was produced that shows St. Joe is violating KRS 261B.061(2)."
Now that the CON has been approved, Jeff Murphy, director of public relations and marketing for Saint Joseph, said the next step is bidding out the contracts for design and construction.
Murphy said once the contracts are awarded, construction of Saint Joseph's $41 million, 98,590 square foot facility should be completed in 2008 with the ground breaking taking place in 2007.
Saint Joseph Jessamine will be located off US 27 and KY 169, diagonally across from Lowe's on the property currently owned by Lewis Day.
According to the CONs, Saint Joseph's facility will offer a 24-hour emergency department, diagnostic imaging which will include CT scans, general x-ray, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, mammography, and bone desitometry, laboratory services, non-invasive testing services which will include stress tests, EKG, EEC and EMG testing, physical rehabilitation services, a pharmacy, primary care services and health education and community services.
Beirne said the next step for Associated is the design and construction phase of the project. He added that, if things go as planned, the $7 million, 16,100 square foot facility, which would be located off Hoover Road, could open in late summer of 2007.
Associated's facility will include medical and diagnostic services, emergency services, preventive health services, educational services, chronic illness management and laboratory services, according to its CON.