State proposes new hospital licensure rule
Busted: Are Americans having fewer babies?

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Broward Health and Tampa General Hospital have previously challenged proposed changes.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is altering its existing licensure standards and application form that hospitals submit to the state for initial, renewal and change of ownership applications.

The agency will hold a one-hour meeting on the proposed changes, which have not been published, at agency headquarters in Tallahassee on Sept. 13.

A previous attempt to alter the licensure rule to include neonatal intensive care units was challenged by the North Broward Hospital District — which is now headed by Shane Strum, the former Chief of Staff to Gov. Ron DeSantis — and Tampa General Hospital. Ultimately, those challenges were dropped when AHCA withdrew the proposed rule.

Thursday’s announcement comes after the state finalized a high-profile and controversial rule regarding regulation of neonatal intensive care units in May. It was more than two years in the making and was so controversial that AHCA entered into “negotiated rulemaking” with hospital industry representatives from across the state. Secretary Simone Marstiller assembled a 17-member panel and hired retired Judge Gregory P. Holder to mediate two days of discussions.  

The proposed rule that emerged from the negotiations also was controversial. It drew a challenge from Jackson Health System and UF Shands Health Hospital. HCA Florida Brandon Hospital also challenged the proposed rule.

The challenges were withdrawn after AHCA altered its proposal to address the facilities’ concerns.

AHCA needed to develop new newborn intensive care unit (NICU) rules after lawmakers in 2018 passed legislation requiring the state to adopt rules governing approval of pediatric cardiac programs and tertiary services, such as NICU beds.

In 2019, the Legislature eliminated for hospitals the health care regulatory program known as certificate of need (CON). NICU services were once regulated by CON.

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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