Published: Mar 28, 2014 6:03 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee Memorial Health System received an unfavorable Recommended Order on its Certificate of Need application for an 80-bed hospital in Estero.

The Recommended Order will be considered by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) before it issues a Final Order approving or denying the hospital’s application.

Today’s ruling is not the final step in the CON approval process. AHCA has 45 days to come to a decision on whether they will accept or reject the judge’s recommended order before issuing their own recommendation as a Final Order.

LMHS originally applied for a Certificate of Need in February 2013, requesting the transfer of 80 licensed beds from Lee Memorial Hospital on Cleveland Ave to a new south Lee hospital. NCH Healthcare system contested the application and Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration subsequently denied it last June. LMHS appealed and an administrative hearing was held in November 2013. The ALJ’s recommended order is the result of that nine-day hearing.

The proposed 80-bed hospital would be located on a 33-acre parcel on Coconut Road across from the Coconut Point mall. Hospital services would include a 24-hour emergency room, general surgery, and an intensive care unit. All rooms would be private and have telemetry monitoring. Additional services will be added over time in response to community need.