By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The state of Michigan is looking back into the proposal for a hospital in Oxford, according to Oxford Township Supervisor Jack Curtis.
Curtis met with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist following the Nov. 30 shooting, the hospital quickly becoming the main topic of their discussion.
“When Lt. Gov. Gilchrist was here, he asked ‘What can we do?’,” Curtis said. “And I told him ‘You could get this certificate of need (CON) in a limited access area, you can get this off top dead center.’ We still need a hospital in Oxford.”
Gilchrist was impressed by the progress the township made on the hospital, especially having the planned unit development (PUD) stage documents — a difficult and involved process Gilchrist would be familiar with given his time in Detroit’s municipal government.
“I showed him the plans that were approved at the Dec. 12, 2019 [planning commission meeting],” Curtis said. “When you have a [PUD], it’s extraneous work to get through to that.”
Curtis has been in close contact with Lansing and executives from Beaumont Health and Spartan Health following the meeting with Gilchrist, speaking daily with an assistant from the governor’s office.
Beaumont filed a CON application with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to build a hospital in March 2019, as per a state report highlighting the need for a hospital in northern Oakland County. The hospital would be built on a 25-acre plot of land between Market St. and the Village of Oxford on the northbound side of M-24. The application was “disapproved” in September 2019, citing too few people living in the area to justify a hospital.
“Somehow, somewhere somebody got confused and forgot that the epicenter of Oxford may be 20,000 people, but within five miles of Oxford … there’s 150,000,” Curtis said. “MDHHS states that in order to complete the CON you have to be within 30 minutes of a populace of 50,000.”
Restarting discussion on the hospital has been Curtis’ top discussion point with officials in the wake of the shooting.
“I told the governor, I told the lieutenant governor, I told the congresswoman, I told our senator,” he said. “When they came here to talk to us about this travesty, the first thing out of my mouth was, ‘Where’s our hospital?’ 20 to 35 minutes to a hospital in an ambulance is unacceptable, and that was my first need that I told them this community needed.”
Some of the closest hospitals to Oxford are Ascension Providence (formerly Crittenton) in Rochester Hills, McLaren Oakland in Pontiac, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac and McLaren Lapeer. Beaumont’s nearest hospital is in Troy.