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UF Health Shands Fights Planned Psychiatric Hospital

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

By News Service of Florida

UF Health Shands Hospital is challenging the state’s preliminary approval of a proposed 42-bed psychiatric hospital in Alachua County. 

The challenge, which was sent last week to the state Division of Administrative Hearings, involves a decision by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to give preliminary approval to a certificate of need for a psychiatric hospital planned by North Florida Regional Medical Center.

State lawmakers this year decided to eliminate the so-called CON regulatory process for hospitals, but the change will not apply to specialty hospitals for two years. North Florida Regional Medical Center’s proposal includes moving 33 existing beds to the new psychiatric facility and adding nine beds.

UF Health Shands operates 10 adult psychiatric beds at its main hospital in Gainesville and operates an 81-bed psychiatric hospital, according to challenge.

“If approved, the establishment of North Florida Regional's new psychiatric hospital will adversely affect UF Health by diverting patients and their revenue from UF Health to seek service at North Florida Regional instead,” the challenge said. “UF Health would also be substantially affected by competition for scarce health care professionals, including qualified psychiatric nurses and nurse aides.”

In a separate case, meanwhile, North Florida Regional is challenging a state decision to reject a proposed certificate of need for a 24-bed rehabilitation hospital in Alachua County. In part, North Florida Regional said there is a need for rehabilitation hospital services in the area and that its proposed facility would not have a “substantial adverse impact on existing providers.”