Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hospital Reviews to Delay Work 'Complex Situation' Affects All Projects

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hospital Reviews to Delay Work 'Complex Situation' Affects All Projects

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Skidmore, Times-Union business writer

Recent hospital protests could delay Jacksonville hospital projects by as much as a year.

The state, which controls hospital changes, reviewed a flurry of requests from the Jacksonville area this fall and made its decisions in mid-December. However, the state's decisions are not sitting well with all hospitals, many of which recently requested administrative hearings for reconsideration.

"This is a very complex situation in Jacksonville," said Jeff Gregg, bureau chief of the office within the Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates these applications. "There are interlocking pieces in many community proposals there."

Several hospitals asked the state to approve plans for their facilities. Baptist Health wanted a new hospital in the Southside and wanted to add beds at its Beaches hospital. Mayo Clinic wanted to sell St. Luke's Hospital and build its own hospital on its campus. And St. Vincent's wanted to purchase and control St. Luke's Hospital.

The state approved all of the new hospitals but denied the expansion at Baptist Beaches and granted only a partial application from St. Vincent's.

All of the hospitals built a cushion into their construction schedules for situations such as these. But four requests for review were filed with the state, which could draw out the development and approval process longer than anticipated. And the administrative hearings require significant costs with the time and legal fees involved.

Only one request came from a rival facility, Memorial Hospital. All other requests were filed by the applicants themselves.

Memorial questioned the need for St. Vincent's to purchase and operate St. Luke's Hospital. Memorial also questioned a related state decision that transferred existing neonatal intensive care beds to St. …

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