Court: Justification for new trauma centers is outdated, invalid

A group of four nonprofit hospitals in Florida that operate trauma centers received a legal break from would-be encroachment from for-profit operators, the Associated Press reported.

A panel of judges sitting on Florida's First District Court of Appeal agreed that a state administrative rule was outdated and invalid because it did not take into account changes made in state law that condensed Florida's trauma center regions, according to article.

The nonprofits--which include Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Tampa Medical Center, St. Joseph's Hospital of Tampa and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center--had fought against the encroachment, claiming the for-profit competitors would siphon off patients and staff, and eventually degrade not only their ability to deliver critical care but also to save lives, according to the wire services.

In particular, the nonprofit hospitals were concerned with trauma centers being opened by HCA, which had received approval for state regulators to operate.

HCA and other for-profit operators had contended that the additional trauma centers would shorten travel times for badly injured patients and save lives, according to the AP.

State officials will not oppose the ruling and have already started to revise the rule that apportions trauma centers accordingly, the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

For more:
- read the Associated Press article
- here's the statement from the Florida Department of Health (.pdf)