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Public Health Trust Loses Round In Trauma Fights

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An administrative law judge Friday ruled against the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County in one of a series of fights about Florida's trauma-care system.

Judge John D.C. Newton issued a 22-page ruling that said the Public Health Trust, which oversees the Jackson Health System, did not have legal standing to challenge two proposed Department of Health rules. Those proposals would revamp rules for the creation and operation of agencies that coordinate trauma services in local areas. Miami-Dade County does not currently have such a coordinating agency.

Newton's ruling came as Jackson South Community Hospital seeks to open a trauma center after another judge ruled in its favor in February in a separate legal dispute with the Department of Health.

But Newton said in the ruling about the trauma-agency rules that the chances of establishment of a local coordinating agency in Miami-Dade County remained "remote" and, as a result, the Public Health Trust didn't have standing to pursue the challenge.

"Health Trust's theory for standing rests on speculation and conjecture,'' he wrote.

The Public Health Trust and UF Health Jacksonville also are in the midst of challenging another proposed Department of Health rule that focuses on how many trauma centers will be allowed in various areas of the state.

Administrative Law Judge Darren Schwartz is scheduled to start hearing arguments in that case April 18.