State transportation officials OK heliport sites for two Florida hospitals

hospitals (Large)
New heliports are on deck for Osceola, Volusia counties.

State transportation officials announced Wednesday preliminary site approval for new heliports at two central Florida hospitals.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced its intent to issue “airport site approval order(s),” for Orlando Health Reunion Heliport in Osceola County and Advent Health Hospital Port Orange Heliport in Volusia County.

The Orlando Health heliport will be located at its one-story 1,500-square-foot standalone emergency room in northwest Osceola County near Reunion Village. The Advent Health heliport is for the new freestanding emergency room the hospital system opened earlier this summer.

The decisions are tentative because they can be challenged in state administrative court. Parties whose interests are adversely affected by the decision must file notice with the Department of Transportation within 21 days.

Florida law requires all owners or lessees of any proposed airport, prior to construction, to obtain approval of the airport site from the state. Moreover, statutes also require public airports to be licensed and private airports, such as heliports owned by hospitals, to be registered with the state.

Helicopters are an efficient mode of transportation to move injured patients from the scene of an accident to a hospital or to transfer a patient from one hospital to another.

Heliports must have a touchdown and lift off area surrounded by a final approach and takeoff area.

A Florida Department of Transportation 2019 annual report shows there were 147 heliports at hospitals across the state.

A copy of the department’s airport site approval orders as well as the hospitals’ applications can be obtained by calling DOT State Aviation Manager, Aaron N. Smith at (850 )414-4514.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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