TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Two health systems received separate certificate-of-need approvals to build hospitals in Florida, and at least one of the CONs is going to be opposed in court.
Regional News/South: Two Florida health systems receive CONs, and other news
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration granted approval to Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, to build an 80-bed acute-care hospital in Palm Beach Gardens, a move that will be opposed in court by 163-bed Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center, according to John Couris, president and CEO of Jupiter. He said the bottom-line reason why they will fight it in state court—per the CON process—is because they believe the hospital would bring a duplication of services in a region where the hospitals are already operating at under capacity, Couris said. He also said that descriptions of the proposed hospital as an academic medical center are incorrect. “It is not a teaching and research hospital,” Couris said.
The hospital would be built and run with the assistance of nearby Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, and Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, which has a campus also nearby, according to the CON decision. Tenet officials declined to comment on Couris’ opinion of the project, but they look forward to continuing the CON process, said spokeswoman Rebecca Ayer. The AHCA also gave approval to 539-bed Shands Jacksonville (Fla.) Medical Center to build a 100-bed acute-care hospital in northern Jacksonville. That CON was opposed by 425-bed Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, part of HCA.
HIGHPOINT, N.C.—Cornerstone Health Care, a 210-physician independent multispecialty practice plans to move from the traditional fee-for-service model to a value- and population-based system involving close monitoring of patients who have chronic diseases. Cornerstone said in a news release that the practice will invest more than $25 million to advance this transition and will add to its 1,500-person workforce with 135 new hires. The group will hire more midlevel providers to help manage the care of patients with chronic disease. Half of the new hires will be clinical informaticists tasked with tracking patient care and analyzing whether quality metrics are being met. “Our objective is to increase accountability, patient access and quality of care while eliminating waste and decreasing costs,” President and CEO Dr. Grace Terrell said in the release. Terrell, who serves on the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology board of commissioners, added that Cornerstone will strengthen its collaboration with the 10 hospitals in the region where the group’s physicians have privileges. Cornerstone is also meeting with insurance companies to be part of the shift to performance-based contracting.
TYLER, Texas—Physician-owned Texas Spine & Joint Hospital will undertake an $8.6 million renovation, even though a provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act passed recently by the U.S. House of Representatives would allow the hospital to go forward with its original plan for a $37 million expansion project. “We had Plan A,” said hospital spokeswoman Leslie Fossey. “This is probably Plan ZZ.” Expansion of the 20-bed Texas Spine & Joint was thwarted when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed March 23, 2010, and hospital owners teamed up with the Physician Hospitals of America trade group in a lawsuit seeking to throw out a provision of the law that restricts expanding capacity at existing physician-owned hospitals. “We found a way to stay within the law and do some renovations and give our patients more space,” Fossey said. Dr. Michael Russell, a partner with the hospital and president of Physician Hospitals of America, said the revised project meets Tyler city officials’ demands that the hospital add more parking and also allows for more outpatient treatment. “We’re not expanding; we’re not adding any operating rooms,” Russell said. He added that plans call for the project to be completed within the next 12 months.
TYLER, Texas—HHS’ Office for Civil Rights announced that it entered into a resolution agreement with East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System regarding its treatment of deaf or hard-of-hearing patients. The agreement follows an investigation into an allegation by a deaf patient that she had not been provided a sign language interpreter while receiving prenatal care at ETMC Crockett (Texas) Hospital, which led to the Office for Civil Rights issuing a letter of concern to the system, according to a news release. The agreement does not include an admission or evidence of any violation of laws or of any liability or wrongdoing on the part of ETMC, the resolution states. As a result of the agreement, ETMC will assess each patient to determine whether auxiliary aids and services are necessary; install additional text telephones; implement a grievance procedure and new policies on nondiscrimination and the provision of auxiliary aids and services; appoint a coordinator; and provide staff training, according to the news release. In a statement, East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System said: “We are assessing and strengthening resources across our system to ensure consistent, effective communications between healthcare professionals and persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
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