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Trauma Center Approved For Children's Hospital

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wolfson Children's Hospital
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida Department of Health has signed off on a plan by Wolfson Children's Hospital to open a pediatric trauma center.

State Surgeon General Celeste Philip, who is secretary of the department, signed a final order Tuesday approving what is known as a “provisional” trauma center at the Jacksonville hospital.

The move came three weeks after an administrative law judge recommended approval of the trauma center. Wolfson had filed the administrative challenge after an earlier decision by the Department of Health to reject the proposal.

Approval of a “provisional” trauma center is a kind of temporary status, though hospitals then can go through a process to get more-permanent approval. The recommended order issued Nov. 14 by Administrative Law Judge R. Bruce McKibben said pediatric trauma patients in Northeast Florida have been taken to trauma centers at UF Health Jacksonville or UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville and then moved to Wolfson after stabilization.

“It is Wolfson's desire to operate its own pediatric trauma center, thereby obviating the need for a trauma patient to first go to UF Health Jacksonville or Shands before being transferred,” McKibben wrote. “There are times when a delay in transfer can have negative consequences for the patient. The number of such occurrences was not quantified by Wolfson, but Wolfson considers it a significant problem.”

In initially turning down the proposal, the Department of Health cited what it saw as deficiencies in Wolfson's application.