HCA competitors appeal to block new trauma centers

Hospital operator HCA is encountering resistance from four Florida competing hospitals about its plan to open up new trauma centers. Tampa General Hospital, Bayfront Medical Center, and Shands Jacksonville last week filed a state court appeal to halt the opening of HCA trauma centers in the area, reports The News Service of Florida. St. Joseph's Hospital also said it will file a similar motion.

The Florida Department of Health last month allowed the immediate opening of four HCA trauma centers: Orange Park Medical Center, Blake Medical Center, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, and Kendall Regional Medical Center, reports News 4 Jax. The appealing hospitals said the health department improperly allowed immediate openings without giving the hospitals opportunity to challenge the decision.

"DOH acted improperly in issuing an immediate final order granting Blake provisional trauma status," Tampa General and Bayfront said in petitions challenging the Manatee trauma center. "Because there was no valid rule establishing a need for the proposed trauma center, the Blake application should have been rejected without further review."

In September, an administrative judge ruled against the health department and that opening HCA trauma centers in Clay, Pasco, and Manatee counties would divert patients away from existing trauma centers. The health department then appealed the decision, arguing it could approve trauma centers; the case still is pending.

For more information:
- read the The News Service of Florida article
- check out the News 4 Jax report

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