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Hospitals Look To Add Facilities, Expand Services

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
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The Florida Channel
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is one of seven different hospitals in the state to request new facilities.

Seven different companies want to establish new hospitals or offer new services at existing hospitals across Florida, but at least some of the proposals aren’t in areas where the state says there’s a need. 

Three of the proposed projects are in Pasco County, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

The HCA-owned Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point submitted a letter of intent to build 24 rehabilitation beds.

Suncoast Recovery Centers submitted a letter of intent to build a new 90-bed psychiatric hospital, while BayCare of Pasco submitted a letter of intent to build a 120-bed acute care hospital.

Orlando Health, meanwhile, submitted letters of intent to build a 90-bed hospital in Orange County and a 100-bed facility in Seminole County.

In Southeast Florida, the Public Health Trust of Miami Dade County submitted a letter of intent to build a new acute-care hospital with upward of 100 beds.

In Northwest Florida, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center submitted a letter of intent to add seven so-called “level III” neonatal intensive care beds for some of the sickest babies in the state.

Likewise, in Northeast Florida, St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville submitted a letter of intent to establish four “level III” neonatal beds.

Florida regulates new health-care facility construction --- and some new services --- through the Certificate of Need program, commonly referred to as CON.

There are four CON cycles throughout the year --- two for hospitals and two for “other” services including nursing homes.  

Providers must submit letters of intent to the state before submitting CON applications.

However, a letter of intent doesn’t lock the provider into applying for a CON.

Six months prior to the batching cycle, the state publishes what is called a fixed-need pool, in which health care regulators establish whether there is a need for new services.

According to the latest fixed- need pool, Florida needed 29 adult psychiatric beds --- 19 in so-called District 1 in Northwest Florida and another 10 in District 3, which comprises mostly non-coastal counties in North Central Florida.

The state didn’t publish a need for new comprehensive rehabilitation beds, but it published the need for 12 new neonatal level III beds — four in District 4 in counties along the state’s northeast coast and eight in District 7 in the greater Orlando area, including Brevard County.