Florida healthcare regulators have granted preliminary approval to a proposal by Miami-Dade’s public hospital network, Jackson Health System, to build a 100-bed hospital for overnight patient admissions in the rapidly growing city of Doral, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration announced Friday.
AHCA denied a similar proposal for an 80-bed hospital in Doral from an affiliate of the investor-owned, for-profit Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, without explanation.
In reaching the decision, AHCA officials wrote in a 76-page report that Jackson Health’s application “best satisfied the statutory criteria” for approving a new hospital in the West Miami-Dade city.
Under the state’s Certificate of Need program, new hospital applications are approved largely based on whether there’s enough patient demand to justify a facility. Gov. Rick Scott has suggested eliminating the program and allowing hospitals more freedom in where they are located.
In reviewing the Jackson Health and HCA applications, state regulators considered the extent to which the proposed hospitals would improve access to healthcare for residents of West Miami-Dade, and the amount of medical services each applicant would provide to Medicaid patients and the uninsured.
Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya called the new facility in Doral “essential” for Jackson’s future.
“West Miami-Dade neighbors . . . are in serious need of Jackson’s advanced and accessible class of medicine,” he wrote in a memo to members of the Public Health Trust that governs Miami-Dade’s public hospital system, county commissioners and statewide elected officials.
The state’s approval allows a 21-day period for any challenges to the decision, and requires Jackson Health to meet a number of conditions, including transferring 100 beds from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami to the new hospital in Doral in order to reduce impact on the regional healthcare market.
Jackson Health also must provide a “high level” of free or reduced-price care for the uninsured and Medicaid patients, and the taxpayer-owned hospital system must develop programs to improve public health in West Miami-Dade, according to the state’s approval documents.
The Doral hospital would anchor a broader proposal by Jackson Health for a medical campus dubbed Jackson West that would include a pediatric center, a stand-alone ER, physician offices and outpatient surgery on a 30-acre parcel just west of the Palmetto Expressway on Northwest 25th Street.
In August, Jackson officials closed on the land purchase for $38.5 million, using voter-approved public funds and the hospital system’s own capital reserves. Jackson officials have estimated the cost to develop the project will be $31 million, but that was prior to proposing the new hospital.