Published: Jun 07, 2013 3:39 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 07, 2013 11:29 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee Memorial Health System learned today that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has denied its application to build an 80-bed hospital in the Bonita Springs/Estero community. The hospital was proposed for 33 acres along Coconut Road between S. Tamiami Trail and Via Coconut Point, adjacent to the Bonita Community Health Center.

LMHS plans to file an appeal to the state division of Administrative Hearings. According to Florida Law, the action must be filed with 21 days of the formal notice of the decision.

Today’s ruling comes after NCH Healthcare System officially challenged LMHS’s Certificate of Need (CON) application, on the grounds there is no need for additional hospital beds in the community. LMHS’s application did not add hospital beds, but requested to de-license some beds at Lee Memorial Hospital on Cleveland Ave. and move them to a new hospital in Bonita/Estero.

LMHS’s Certificate of Need (CON) application requested the transfer of 80 beds from Lee Memorial Hospital on Cleveland Ave to the new south Lee hospital. Lee Memorial Hospital has licensed beds that are unused because of physical limitations in an aging building. Hospitals must be issued a CON to relocate beds from an existing hospital or to move a hospital more than one mile from its existing site. 

Debbie Curry, spokesperson for NCH, issued the following statement:

“The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has issued its preliminary decision denying the Certificate of Need application filed by Lee Memorial Health System for a new 80-bed hospital, to be located in south Lee County. AHCA found the application failed to establish need for another hospital. NCH supports efforts which promote the most effective, efficient use of scarce resources and remains fully committed to serving all patients with the highest quality clinical care.”