LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Today we'll find out if Lee Memorial Health System can build a brand new hospital in Estero. Naples Community Hospital objects to the idea, saying it's not needed.
Lee Memorial is unsure what time it will learn whether the agency for health care administration has approved or rejected its request, but Estero residents have told us this decision has been a long time coming. The land selected for the proposed hospital, just south of Coconut Point Mall, was purchased 10 years ago as part of a master plan to expand.
Lee Memorial says the $80 million, 80-bed hospital will fill a serious health care need in south Lee County. The health system and local first responders say an Estero-based hospital would cut down on long transport times and wait times, especially during winter season.
It's currently 12 miles to Gulf Coast Medical Center, which is the closest hospital equipped for urgent care. Residents have told us those trips can take them anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour.
Residents and Lee Memorial say: adding in expectations of a growing population and a growing business sector with the coming of Hertz, a new hospital is essential.
So far, more than 2,000 of the hospital's potential neighbors have written the state asking for the green light to build. But not everyone is for the new location. Last month, Naples Community Hospital, which does get some patients from the Estero area, filed a complaint against Lee Memorial's request, saying a hospital in Estero is not needed. Lee Memorial said NCH's challenge has many inconsistencies.