After two denials, Celebration Health in Kissimmee, Fla., won certificate-of-need approval last week to transfer 60 beds to its planned inpatient facility from nearby sister facility Florida Hospital in Orlando.
Approval from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration was the result of a settlement between Celebration Health and two of its potential competitors, which fought the bed transfer.
Orlando Regional Healthcare System and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which operates a 156-bed hospital in Kissimmee, opposed Celebration Health's CON application. They said the plan was duplicative in an overbedded market.
Celebration Health is a $130 million complex being built by Winter Park, Fla.-based Adventist Health System and Walt Disney World near Orlando (Oct. 20, 1997, p. 30). The complex primarily will offer outpatient services but includes a building that could be used as an inpatient site. Adventist wanted to transfer 60 of the licensed beds of its 120-bed Florida Hospital to Celebration Health.
Celebration Health's outpatient facility opened this month, and the fitness club and dental center opened late last year. The inpatient facility is now expected to open in August.
The state had rejected Adventist's CON application twice, saying the construction price of $1.2 million per bed was too high and the market's inpatient utilization was too low to justify the project.
Under the settlement, Florida Hospital will transfer the 60 beds to Celebration Health but also trim another 20 beds from its facility, leaving it with 40. Adventist also agreed to remove another 10 beds from Florida Hospital if business at Columbia's facility in Kissimmee dwindles by predetermined amounts.
In addition, the settlement allows Columbia to add six neonatal intensive-care beds at its Kissimmee hospital and add open-heart surgical services without CON opposition from Adventist.
Orlando Regional, meanwhile, can purchase an ownership stake in Celebration Health within 41/2 years after Celebration Health admits its first inpatient. It can buy up to 49% of the complex.
Despite the concessions and long delay, Des Cummings Jr., chief executive officer at Celebration Health, considers the settlement a big victory. "We are gratified for this settlement. It allows us to go forward and realize the vision of Celebration, " he said.
The agreement also creates a Community Health Improvement Coalition, which is charged with promoting and funding innovative healthcare projects in Osceola and Orange counties. Celebration Health will contribute $1 million annually for the next eight years to develop two major community health initiatives.