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Children's Hospital Pushes To Provide Heart Transplants

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After getting turned down by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami-Dade County is taking its proposal for a pediatric heart-transplant program to an administrative law judge.

A petition was filed last week in the state Division of Administrative Hearings challenging AHCA's decision in February to deny what is known as a "certificate of need" for a heart-transplant program at the children's hospital.

In the petition, Nicklaus said it "treats the greatest number of complex cardiac patients with underlying diagnoses indicating heart transplantation needs in infants and children than any other hospital in Florida.

Yet, heart transplantation is the only gap in NCH's (the hospital's) heart program; it is a much-needed service so that NCH's internationally renowned cardiovascular surgeons can treat their own patients rather than referring the patient to other comparable hospitals for transplantation surgeries."

The document indicates two other facilities in the area, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Memorial Regional Hospital, have pediatric heart-transplant programs.

The case has been assigned to Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins.