KISSIMMEE, Fla.-Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s for-profit Osceola Medical Center has delayed creating an open-heart surgery program because a neighboring not-for-profit with a competing program doesn't think the market needs it.
Orlando (Fla.) Regional Medical Center filed an appeal in August with Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, saying that Orlando Regional's open-heart surgery program is sufficient for the area. "We don't feel that there is a need for that particular program" at Osceola Medical, said Orlando Regional spokesman Joe Brown.
Osceola Medical disagrees. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the heart program would be the only one in Osceola County-Orlando Regional is in Orange County-and would help make Osceola a full-service facility, in keeping with the medical center's goals and something he said the community wants.
The state approved Osceola Medical's certificate-of-need application in August.
Health First/Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Fla., withdrew its appeal, similar to Orlando Regional's, contesting Osceola Medical's application approval. It also had asked the state to reconsider denying Health First's CON application to start an open-heart surgery program. The withdrawal by 128-bed Health First stemmed from its plans to re-evaluate its services.
A 904-bed system, Orlando Regional established its open-heart surgery program more than 15 years ago and performs about 1,000 heart surgeries annually, Brown said. Orlando Regional's system covers six counties and is about a 25-minute drive from Osceola Medical, he said.
Orlando Regional is not concerned that Osceola Medical would take its business away, Brown said. "We just don't think there is a need for more."
Osceola Medical planned to invest $882,000 in its open-heart program, originally expected to be running by year-end. The 156-bed medical center has suspended its plans pending the outcome of the appeal. Cook estimated the program could be on hold for up to 18 months.
A hearing date has not been scheduled.
Should Osceola Medical be allowed to open its heart surgery program, it expects to do less than 200 heart procedures in its first year and about 350 by its third.
The medical center recently added a neurosurgery unit and a Level II neonatal intensive-care unit as part of its effort to become a full-service hospital in Osceola County.