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HCA Trauma Centers Get Reprieve

Florida Senate
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Wading into a hospital-industry battle, Florida senators began moving forward Tuesday with a plan that would ensure three disputed trauma centers can stay in business, but also would slap a temporary moratorium on additional trauma facilities in the state, the News Service of Florida reports.

The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a bill (SB 1276) that would prevent the potential closure of trauma centers at Blake Medical Center in Manatee County, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County and Ocala Regional Medical Center in Marion County.

Those trauma facilities have been embroiled in legal battles with the long-standing non-profit trauma centers for nearly three years.

Bill sponsor Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, said closure of the trauma centers would cost jobs and also would come after significant investments in the facilities. "I just can't see putting people out of business,'' she said.

Also, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the committee capped so-called "trauma fees" facilities can charge patients at $15,000. A Times investigation found that trauma centers were charging anywhere from $1,500 to more than $30,000 for trauma patients brought into their facilities. The cap is for one year, the Times reports.

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Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.