Pediatrics provider Nemours, Jacksonville, Fla., announced plans to build a children's hospital in Orlando, Fla., and said negotiations with its prospective partner, Orlando Regional Healthcare, would determine details, such as size, cost and a construction timeline. Orlando Regional operates 276-bed Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women, which is staffed by Nemours physicians. Hospital officials are open to discussions but "very much concerned about the investment we're already made" in children's healthcare in the area, said John Bozard, president of the hospital foundation. Bozard said he was unaware of Nemours' proposal until shortly before it became public. "We probably have more questions at this point than we have answers," he said.
Laura Guitar, a spokeswoman for Nemours, said Nemours and Orlando Regional had discussed building a Nemours-owned hospital for years but repeatedly failed to reach an agreement. Guitar said Nemours would build a hospital either way but hoped to collaborate with Orlando Regional. Nemours, which operates a children's hospital in Delaware and pediatric clinics there and in Florida, previously announced plans for a clinic and surgery center on the site of the proposed hospital. Nemours plans to file a certificate-of-need application for the hospital in 2006. -- by Melanie Evans