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Trauma Center Drama Could Be Nearing End

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

A final agreement on overhauling the approval of trauma centers is drawing near. The House and Senate on Friday took up trauma bills — HB 1165 and SB 1876, respectively — and prepared them for possible votes early next week.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, and Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa, would end years of litigation surrounding state decisions about whether to allow trauma centers to open.

The bills would settle disputes across the state and establish a methodology to prevent future disputes, Young said. The disputes have largely come as the for-profit HCA Healthcare has moved in recent years to open trauma centers at many of its hospitals.

Other hospitals that have long provided trauma services have challenged the HCA plans in a series of legal battles. The regulation of trauma centers is governed by laws and Department of Health rules.

Under the bills, the Department of Health would be required by Oct. 1 to establish an 11-member Florida Trauma System Advisory Council.