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Judge Sides With AHCA On Alachua County Nursing Home

p1 lawyer
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An administrative law judge Friday upheld a decision by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to approve a new 103-bed nursing home in Alachua County, rejecting a challenge from a competing nursing home firm.

The dispute stemmed from a preliminary AHCA decision to award what is known as a “certificate of need” for a nursing home proposed by Alachua County HRC, LLC. Obtaining certificates of need are critical regulatory steps in building nursing homes and hospitals.

Friday's 38-page ruling by Judge R. Bruce McKibben said the state last year found a need for 94 additional nursing-home beds in Alachua County and nine beds in Putnam County. That led Alachua County HRC to seek a certificate of need for a $19.675 million project in Alachua County that would include 103 beds.

Another firm, PruittHealth-Alachua County, LLC, proposed building a 94-bed nursing home in Alachua County. The AHCA in February gave preliminary approval to the Alachua County HRC certificate of need, while denying the PruittHealth-Alachua County application. That spurred a challenge from the losing firm, but McKibben ruled that the agency should grant the certificate of need to Alachua County HRC.