LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Lee County EMS worker is delivering a simple message to lawmakers in Tallahassee: There are not enough nearby hospital beds.
He's in Florida's capital as part of the push by Lee Memorial to build a new hospital in the Bonita Springs/ Estero area.
Lee Memorial hopes to build an 80-bed hospital on the land it owns, just south of the Coconut Point Shopping Center. The project is estimated to cost $81 million, but state regulators and the NCH Healthcare System are opposed to the plan.
Lee Memorial made its case this morning, on the third day of a two-week hearing in Tallahassee over the disputed plans for the new hospital.
A Lee County EMS official said hospitals can run from 100 to 150 patients over capacity during the tourist-heavy fall and winter months, but added that only about 5-to-10 percent of calls are for life-threatening medical conditions, like heart attacks and strokes.
An attorney representing NCH noted that Lee Memorial will soon be expanding ER units at Cape Coral hospital and the Healthpark medical center, suggesting that a new hospital in South Lee County isn't needed.
NCH is expected to start to make its case and present its own witnesses on Tuesday.