Saying that northern Palm Beach County’s hospital market is saturated with empty beds, a state judge has recommended against Tenet Healthcare’s application to build an 80-bed hospital across from Scripps Florida in Palm Beach Gardens.
The decision was a major victory for Jupiter Medical Center and HCA’s West Palm Hospital, which argued they’d lose millions if the project went forward. But it throws into uncertainty Kolter Group Co.’s tentative plans for a major development next to the proposed hospital. It also clouds the financial picture for scientific institute Scripps Florida.
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Bumpy road to a new hospital
Aug. 8, 2011 – Executives from Scripps Florida, Tenet and Florida Atlantic University hold a press conference to announce plans for a new hospital along Donald Ross Road and I-95, across from Scripps Florida, in Palm Beach Gardens. The new hospital, to be called Florida Regional Medical Center, is to eventually have 200 beds and focus on cancer, orthopedics, geriatrics and gastrointestinal disease. The executives say the hospital will become a clinical research center and train medical residents. FAU president Mary Jane Saunders says the hospital will collaborate with FAU’s new medical school.
Dec. 2, 2011 – The state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) grants preliminary approval for a smaller 80-bed acute care hospital. Reviewers note that other hospitals in the nearby area had average occupancy at only 54 percent in 2010. The reviewers say Tenet will have to make good on its promise to create a world-class medical center where teaching and research are central. They cited a letter from Gov. Rick Scott: “This Tenet-Scripps announcement is a great example of the business world and the academic world, working together to make that happen.”
January 28, 2012, and February 3, 2012 – Jupiter Medical Center and West Palm Hospital (formerly Columbia Hospital) appeal AHCA’s decision to the state Division of Administrative Hearings.
August 20 – 24, 2012 – DOA hearings begin. During the hearings Tenet reveals a proposed sublease agreement that would give Scripps $5 million a year for 34 years to sublease 30 acres of land owned by Palm Beach County and earmarked for Scripps’ expansion.
Sept. 6, 2012 – DOA hearings conclude.
April 30, 2013 – Administrative Law Judge James H. Peterson, III, finds that Tenet “failed to demonstrate need for its proposed hospital; evidence submitted did not satisfy, on balance, the applicable statutory and rule criteria; needs of research and educational facilities are no longer considered in certificate of need review.”
Source: Palm Beach Post research.