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Judge Rejects Department Decision On Trauma Center

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

An administrative law judge Monday ruled that the Florida Department of Health should not have turned down a proposal by Jackson South Community Hospital to open a trauma center in southern Miami-Dade County.

Judge John G. Van Laningham, in a 74-page recommended order, said the department should approve what is known as a "provisional" trauma center for the hospital.

Approval of new trauma centers has been a highly controversial issue in recent years in the hospital industry. The Department of Health uses a review process that allocates limited numbers of trauma centers in different regions of the state.

Jackson South Community Hospital applied for the last available slot in an area that includes Miami-Dade and Monroe counties but was turned down by the department in April 2015. That led to the administrative challenge, which included Kendall Regional Medical Center intervening on the side of the department. Kendall operates a trauma center.

Van Laningham's recommended order, which now goes back to the department, found that Jackson South met the legal requirements to be approved for a trauma center.