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Judge: Transplant Program Should Be Rejected

p1 lawyer
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In the latest ruling in Florida's "certificate of need" battles, an administrative law judge said this week that the state should reject a proposal by Baptist Hospital of Miami to establish an inpatient bone-marrow transplant program.

In a 79-page recommended order issued Thursday, Judge James H. Peterson III sided with University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, which operates a bone-marrow transplant program and challenged the Baptist Hospital proposal. The decision comes amid a legislative debate about possibly getting rid of the certificate-of-need regulatory process, which requires hospitals to get state approval before they can build facilities or add services such as bone-marrow transplant programs.

Hospitals often battle legally about certificates of need. The state Agency for Health Care Administration in February 2016 gave preliminary approval to the Baptist Hospital proposal, leading to the challenge from University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, Peterson wrote. In his recommended order, which goes to the Agency for Health Care Administration for final action, Peterson listed a series of reasons that the Baptist Hospital proposal should be turned down.

"Baptist failed to demonstrate that it is either a teaching or research hospital as required by rule …, did not show that it has an on-site laboratory equipped for evaluation and cryopreservation of bone marrow required by rule … and did not provide sufficient proof of an ongoing research program or an established research-oriented oncology program to meet the requirements of (a rule)," Peterson wrote. "Because of these failures and other deficiencies … AHCA's own rules dictate denial of the application."