WESLEY CHAPEL — State regulators have approved a plan for a $15.7-million, 40-bed psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for adults near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Pasco County.
The Ten Broeck Tampa Inc. Hospital would be the first of its kind in east and central Pasco, where law enforcement authorities transport Baker Act patients all the way to New Port Richey. Pasco County does not have any beds committed to substance abuse patients, who must go to other counties for inpatient treatment, regulators say.
But in approving the plan, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration also shot down a proposal by Morton Plant North Bay Hospital to build a 70-bed psychiatric hospital near State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway.
That facility would have included 40 adult inpatient psychiatric beds, 20 adult inpatient substance abuse beds and 10 psychiatric beds for children and adolescents. Pasco lacks inpatient hospital services for children needing mental health care.
In denying that proposal, regulators noted the project's close proximity to Community Hospital's new Trinity facility, which will have 46 beds for adult psychiatric patients. That hospital is under construction and is expected to open in 2010.
Community Hospital chief executive Kathryn Gillette had opposed the North Bay and the Ten Broeck projects, saying neither was necessary.
No one else filed objections to either project.
North Bay spokeswoman Beth Hardy said the hospital is "disappointed" but is now considering all its options, including whether to appeal the decision.
The North Bay project carried the support of a number of local and state political heavyweights, including Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. Will Weatherford.
Ten Broeck Tampa Inc. is an affiliate of United Medical Corporation, a for-profit corporation with headquarters in Orange County.
Back in February, Ten Broeck sold three other behavioral health hospitals it operated in Florida "to accommodate a corporate reorganization at the request of one of the shareholders," according to the decision by state regulators.
Ten Broeck has not settled on the exact location of its proposed facility, but says it has identified three properties with the correct zoning in the Wesley Chapel area near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
The state report does not say when the new facility would open.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.