WESLEY CHAPEL — Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is fighting state regulators' denial last month of its application to build a 70-bed psychiatric facility in central Pasco.
North Bay is also contesting a related decision by the Agency for Health Care Administration to approve a rival plan by Ten Broeck Tampa to build a 40-bed psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for adults near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Pasco.
"We continue to believe we can best meet the needs of the patients who suffer from these issues," said hospital spokeswoman Beth Hardy.
The next step? Get the agency to hold a formal hearing to sort out the facts. That date has not yet been set.
North Bay's proposal aims to fill a gap in mental health services in Pasco, which lacks inpatient hospital services for children needing psychiatric care.
The proposed facility would be on State Road 54, though the exact location has not been determined. The project would include 40 adult inpatient psychiatric beds, 20 adult inpatient substance abuse beds and 10 psychiatric beds for children and adolescents.
In denying North Bay's 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.
In approving the Ten Broeck Tampa Inc. Hospital, regulators wrote that law enforcement authorities currently must transport Baker Act patients in east and central Pasco all the way to New Port Richey.
North Bay disputes ACHA's reasoning on a number of points, saying its project fills a need and that its facility would be superior to Ten Broeck's.
Ten Broeck Tampa Inc., is an affiliate of United Medical Corporation, a privately-held, for-profit corporation in Windermere.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.