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State Challenged Over Rejection Of Sarasota County Hospital

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

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is challenging a decision by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to turn down plans for a new hospital in southern Sarasota County.

The agency last month issued a preliminary denial of what is known as a "certificate of need" for Sarasota Memorial's plans to build an 80-bed hospital in the Venice and Nokomis area. Obtaining a certificate of need is a critical regulatory step before building a new hospital.

In a challenge sent last week to the state Division of Administrative Hearings, Sarasota Memorial said it met legal requirements for approval and that there "is a need for the new hospital and services proposed in Sarasota Memorial's CON application."

But an already-existing hospital in the area, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, has filed a petition to formally intervene in the case and support the Agency for Health Care Administration's decision.

"Granting a CON to Sarasota Memorial will unnecessarily duplicate acute care hospital services in the service area and will unnecessarily divert patients and health care workers from BH (Bayfront Health) Port Charlotte," the petition to intervene said. Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth McArthur is expected to hear the case.