Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. beat out the prestigious Cleveland Clinic to win the first certificate of need to build a new hospital in Florida in a decade.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said it selected Nashville, Tenn.-based Columbia because it had a better track record with managed care in Florida.
Columbia and Cleveland Clinic had competing bids to build a new hospital in Collier County, Fla. The last time a CON was approved for a new Florida hospital was in 1987, when the agency allowed Gulf Coast Hospital to be built in Lake County.
"The agency thought (Columbia) would be able to foster and forward more competition in regard to managed care than the Cleveland Clinic," said Lisa Jacques, spokeswoman for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in Tallahassee.
Not-for-profit 434-bed Naples (Fla.) Community Hospital is the only acute-care facility in the southwest Florida county. However, the agency entertained bids for a new hospital in an effort to boost competition.
Columbia said 13.1% of the new hospital's patient days in its first year would come from patients enrolled in managed-care plans. Cleveland Clinic's plan called for 6.2% of the patient days at its planned facility to come from patients in managed-care plans in the first three years of operations.
Columbia's proposal calls for a 100-bed hospital to be built somewhere in Collier County at a cost of about $73 million. Cleveland Clinic wanted to build a 70-bed hospital there for about $56.8 million.
The new hospital, scheduled to open in two to three years, will be Columbia's seventh in its southwest Florida division.
"The state saw the need for competition and the need for additional beds," said Jay Jarrell, division president. "There has been no need for Naples Community Hospital to allow managed-care companies into Collier County. That is unheard of these days."
Naples Community Hospital said it opposes a new hospital in Collier County because its occupancy has been steadily declining. It also said it supported the state's denial of a previous Columbia application to build a new hospital in Collier.
"Our occupancy is under 70% annually and has been trending downward for the past two years along with our average length of stay," said William Crone, the hospital's president and CEO. "While we understand people desire as many choices as possible, approval of another hospital would disrupt the balance of providing indigent care in our area."