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State Approves 22 New Nursing Homes

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Megan Milanese
The Florida Channel
Companies submitted 138 different applications to build nearly 18,000 nursing home beds across Florida, as shown in the map above.

The Agency for Health Care Administration on Friday announced it will let 22 new nursing homes open across the state, and will allow another 11 existing facilities to expand.

The highly competitive bid process ends Florida’s 14-year ban on new construction.

Orlando Senior Health Network, owner of Orlando Lutheran Towers, was one of the winners. CEO Alicia Labrecque said the companies will be able to build space for 2,600 nursing home beds.

“Right now in our nursing home we’re completely full and turning people away,” Labrecque said. “So it will help us tremendously to be able to take more residents in, especially the longterm care residents.”

A total of $430 million in new nursing home construction was announced in the state Certificate of Need report, and spans from Pensacola to Miami. The largest project to win approval is a 180-bed nursing home in Orlando, while the most expensive is a $30 million facility in Miami.

Despite Friday’s announcement, the number of new nursing home beds is still 500 short of its estimated need. Experts predict Florida will 15,000 more beds in the next 15 years.

The news comes the same day the federal government released scores on the nation’s nursing homes, using tougher standards. A USA Today analysis found that 61 percent of nursing homes got lower quality of care scores in the new Nursing Home Compare report.

“There were just far too many nursing homes that were showing good scores, good measures based on self-reported data,” said Brian Lee, founder of Families for Better Care, a nursing home watchdog group. “And it just overblew the nursing home quality.”

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFEin Orlando. Health News Floridareceives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.