Florida banned specialty hospitals aimed at a single condition and eliminated its certificate-of-need law for new adult open-heart surgery and angioplasty programs at general hospitals. The law, signed yesterday by Gov. Jeb Bush, also exempts from CON the addition of beds to existing structures, but a CON is still required for new structures. In contrast to an 18-month national moratorium on new physician investment in specialty hospitals, the Florida ban prohibits the licensure of any specialty hospital, regardless of physician investment, said Ralph Glatfelter, a senior vice president at the Florida Hospital Association. The FHA supported the changes. "There are no single-specialty niche hospitals in the state of Florida at this time, and this legislation would prevent any development," Glatfelter said. The law immediately opens the door to new open-heart programs at about a half-dozen hospitals, while several other hospitals are expected to add angioplasty services. -- by Michael Romano
Fla. law bars licensure of any specialty hospital
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