HCA challenges Lee Health's 'monopolistic dominance' with plan for new Florida hospital

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare submitted an 817-page proposal to Florida regulators outlining its plan to build an 80-bed hospital in Estero, Fla., according to the News-Press.

HCA's bid to build the hospital conflicts with Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health's application to build an 82-bed hospital in Estero.

In its application to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, HCA says Lee Health has "monopolistic dominance" in the region, which limits the number of healthcare providers patients can choose from.

"Not only do patients suffer from lack of access to care in their community, but they also have little to no healthcare provider choice," HCA states in its application. "This type of monopolistic environment within the healthcare market stifles innovation and breeds a culture that negatively impacts the cost and quality of care."

Lee Health operates 95 percent of the acute care hospital beds in Lee County, but the health system says there is plenty of competition in the market.

"Although we're identified as a, quote, 'monopoly,' the vast majority of the care delivered in this community is delivered in the outpatient world," Lee Health President and CEO Larry Antonucci, MD, told the News-Press. "Not only do we not have a monopoly, we don't even have a majority of the outpatient care done here."

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has until June 1 to issue its initial decision on which health system can proceed with its plans for a new hospital, according to the report.

More articles on facilities management:

Mercy Health to open portion of $271M facility in September
St. Luke's University Health Network breaks ground on $100M hospital
U of Maryland hospital seeks state OK for $50M transformation into outpatient facility

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