New hospital at TimberRidge

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Path cleared for 66-bed facility

By The Staff

By Staff Reports

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration cleared the way for a 66-bed acute-care hospital at TimberRidge.

The state agency approved the Certificate of Need at its June 1 meeting, pending submission of a building permit and subsequent issuance of the TimberRidge Hospital license by the Agency for Health Care Administration and the following conditions:

n MRMC will transfer 63 acute care beds from its main campus to TimberRidge, which will comprise 63 of its 66 initially licensed acute care beds. The transfer of beds is expected to enhance the quality of care for patients and address the desire for private rooms at the existing campus.

According to MRMC, the 63 beds will be transferred from the remaining semi-private rooms at the main campus and result in that facility having 100 percent private rooms. The new hospital is the site of a freestanding emergency department.

MRMC will not seek to relicense new acute care beds at its main campus for a minimum of five years post transfer or until occupancy exceeds 80 percent on a trailing 12-month basis. The transfer will be demonstrated by submission of applicable licensure applications at the appropriate time.

n TimberRidge will provide a minimum 13 percent of its inpatient days to Medicaid, Medicaid HMO, charity care, self-pay and underinsured patients on an annual basis. This will be measured annually by TimberRidge Hospital’s submission of an annual patient day report to AHCA

n Extend the nursing training and education programs that are conducted in conjunction with Rasmussen College and College of Central Florida at Munroe Regional Medical Center to TimberRidge Hospital

n Annually sponsor On Top of the World Health Fair

n Annually participate in the Oak Run Health Fair

Letters of support came from EMS responders, physicians, referral sources, business leaders, elected officials, prior patients, community and business leaders, clinically integrated physician networks, skilled nursing facilities, academic organizations, state and local officials and area residents. A survey disseminated among Marion County First Responders was included in supporting documents with the application, which is dated Aug. 1, 2016.

Letters of support for the proposal endorse the project in light of the need to reduce EMS transport times, a reduction in the volume of interfacility patient transports; an enhancement of the geographic access to a hospital for the rural and surrounding counties (Citrus, Levy); an increase in demand for hospital access due to the traffic and geographic challenges that exist and new residential developments that would support the establishment of the an acute care hospital.

Other themes discussed in the letters include the issues with travel times from western Marion County to subdistrict hospitals, the lack of available beds within the subdistrict, challenges for elderly accessing the existing hospitals and the need for the proposed TimberRidge Hospital to enhance access.

One written statement of opposition dated May 4 from Hospital Corporation of America Inc., was submitted on behalf of Ocala Regional Medical Center, West Marion Community Hospital, and Citrus Memorial Hospital. All three opposing hospitals are operated by Hospital Corporation of America Inc.

The statements of opposition stated the applicant failed to meet CON Statutory Review Criteria for new general acute care hospitals as outlined in Florida Statutes.

In general, HCA based its opposition on a historical overview of the previous application and litigation proceedings for a previous certificate of need and criticisms of the current application.

The opposition maintains that circumstances in the service area are essentially unchanged since the Agency denied the previous Certificate of Need. Also, the sale of MRMC to Adventist/Florida Hospital will result in the assignment of the hospital to Florida Hospital Ocala Inc. Under that scenario, the opposition stated that Munroe HMA Hospital LLC., would no longer have authority to operate MRMC or any of the district health care facilities.

The full 82-page document is available online at http://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/CON_FA/Batching/pdf/10519.pdf.