State Signs Off On Jacksonville Trauma Center

Jul 22, 2018

The Florida Department of Health on Friday issued a final order rejecting a challenge to a new trauma center at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville.

The department adopted recommendations by Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen, who ruled against UF Health Jacksonville, which has long operated a trauma center and filed the challenge.

The Department of Health last year gave what is known as “provisional” approval for Memorial to open a trauma center.

UF Health Jacksonville challenged the approval on a series of grounds, including whether a “slot” was available in the state trauma system to open another trauma facility in Northeast Florida.

But Cohen, in issuing his recommended order June 13, concluded that “Memorial met its burden of establishing that its trauma center application met the applicable standards” and rejected UF Health Jacksonville’s argument that the department improperly gave approval to the Memorial trauma center without an available slot.

Under administrative law, Cohen’s ruling had to go back to the Department of Health for final action.

The department’s order Friday did not expound on the details of Cohen’s recommendation.

The case was one of numerous legal battles in the hospital industry in recent years about whether trauma centers should be allowed to open.

Lawmakers passed a measure this year aimed at resolving most of the disputes, but the Memorial case continued.