Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rift over Tampa Bay trauma centers drags on in court

TALLAHASSEE — A fight among hospitals that could shape one high-profile aspect of medical care — trauma centers — reached the state's second highest court Thursday.

Attorneys representing two for-profit hospitals in Tampa Bay argued that a 20-year-old rule used to approve their new trauma centers is not out of date. But the other side — three Tampa Bay nonprofit hospitals and another in Jacksonville — said new trauma centers that are opening around the state could create financial and staffing challenges at existing centers and threaten patient care.

They urged the 1st District Court of Appeal to allow an administrative judge's ruling that invalidated the 1992 rule to stand.

"We're talking about a system that is very costly to provide, and there are practical limitations relating to staffing," said Jeff Frehn, an attorney representing St. Petersburg's Bayfront Medical Center and Tampa General Hospital.

St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center are also involved in challenging the rule used to okay new trauma centers at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson and Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

The Hudson and Bradenton hospitals are owned by for-profit HCA, the nation's largest private hospital chain and a company once run by Gov. Rick Scott.

Lawyers representing Bayonet Point and Blake said the administrative judge went too far when he threw out the 1992 rule and didn't consider all the existing laws governing trauma centers. Both hospitals have already launched their new trauma programs since the state granted them provisional approval late last year.

Bayfront has already experienced a steep decrease in patients from outside Pinellas County, the Times reported on Wednesday.

The appellate judges didn't indicate when they will rule on the case. Meanwhile, the nonprofit hospitals have also filed a separate legal challenge to the application process used to approve the new trauma centers.

Staff writer Letitia Stein contributed to this report. Tia Mitchell can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Rift over Tampa Bay trauma centers drags on in court 09/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel walk together during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump is in Belgium to attend a NATO summit and to meet EU and Belgian officials. [AP photo]
  2. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC


    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  3. Tampa Bay home prices still soaring amid tight supply

    Real Estate

    But despite Tampa Bay recording its most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's fabled Century Oaks estate — there were signs that the pace of price increases may be slowing just a bit for single-family homes.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor has sold for $11.18 million, the most ever paid for a home in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group]
  4. These days, don't hit the theme park without an app and a phone charger


    Emile Crawford stocks two back-up phone battery chargers these days when she takes her kids to Disney World. But she dare not venture into a theme park without a smart phone app, an accessory becoming as necessary as sunscreen in Florida theme parks.

    A wristband visitors will wear at the new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, Florida. The wristband, called Tapu Tapu, tells you when it's your turn to get on a ride. It also lets you pay for food so you don't have to carry a wallet and opens lockers so you don't have to  carry a key. (Universal via AP)
  5. Rick Baker releases first campaign ad


    Rick Baker's campaign released its first TV ad Wednesday