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How Cleveland Clinic has been boxed out of Palm Beach

Despite a desire to expand its hospital presence in Palm Beach County, Fla., Cleveland Clinic largely has been shut out, according to My Palm Beach Post.

Boca Raton (Fla.) Regional Hospital, a 400-bed facility in Palm Beach County, began searching for a strategic partner in June 2017. In May, the hospital narrowed its potential affiliates to two finalists. Cleveland Clinic was one.

On July 26, Bocca Raton Regional selected Coral Cables-based Baptist Health South Florida as a partner. The move came as a blow to Cleveland Clinic, which called Boca Raton's decision "disappointing."

For the last decade, the Ohio-based provider that has a Florida campus in Weston, has been working to expand into Palm Beach and Treasure Coast. It recently opened a clinic in Wellington, Fla., its fourth medical clinic in Palm Beach. The clinic also is ironing out deals to manage or own hospitals in Martin and Indian River counties.

Despite growth in those areas of the state and a hospital presence in Weston, Cleveland Clinic wants a Palm Beach County hospital. With a hospital presence in Palm Beach, the provider could steer patients from its four Palm Beach clinics to the hospital for inpatient treatments or surgeries, especially because its campus in Weston is too long of a drive for Palm Beach and Treasure Coast residents.

Boca Raton's decision has boxed out the Cleveland Clinic for now, especially because the regulatory hurdles in Florida to obtain a certificate of need for construction are high, meaning the easiest way for Cleveland Clinic to open a hospital in Palm Beach is through an affiliation with an existing hospital or a purchase agreement.  

Boca Raton President Jerry Fedele said that Cleveland Clinic's proposal was "very strong," but Baptist Health was selected because the partnership would enable the hospital  to better meet its goals.

Read the full report on My Palm Beach Post.

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