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News Clips 07/16/2014
STAFF COLUMN: UF Health finally prevails in bid to build a new hospital near the airport
Source: Florida Times-Union, 07/15/14
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A long-simmering dispute about plans for a new hospital near Jacksonville International Airport appears to be finished, and UF Health Jacksonville detailed its plans Tuesday.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration in December gave preliminary approval for what is known as a “certificate of need” for the project. But Memorial Hospital Jacksonville challenged the approval. Documents indicate the two hospitals were in settlement talks this summer, and Memorial filed a notice July 3 that it was dismissing the case.
Dan Leveton, a spokesman for UF Health Jacksonville, released a statement Tuesday that said the project involves opening a medical office building, including an emergency room and operating suites, in early 2015 and then opening a “hospital bed tower” in 2017.
The medical office building that includes the emergency room and operating suites already is under construction. Previously, UF Health officials have said the hospital bed tower will have 92 beds.
In a 2012 interview, Davis S. Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs at the University of Florida and president of what was then called the UF&Shands Health System, said surveys found that Shands Jacksonville was getting about 150,000 patient visits a year from the area that would be served by the proposed hospital.
He also said that the ultimate goal would be to reduce the number of patient beds downtown by converting about 100 semi-private rooms to private.
Memorial, which had resisted UF Health’s efforts to build on the Northside since 2011, argued that a new Northside hospital was not needed and would damage Memorial’s business.
“We are pleased that opposition to the Agency for Health Care Administration’s preliminary approval of our application for a certificate of need to build a hospital in North Jacksonville has been withdrawn,’’ the statement said. “This enables us to continue our plans to serve that rapidly growing community.”