Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State approves HCA Community Hospital's plans for psych ward in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — The state has approved HCA Community Hospital's proposal to run a psychiatric ward, a move city officials once called a "ticking time bomb."

The approval, sought by HCA in March, allows the company to run two campuses: its main 236-bed Medical Center of Trinity, planned to open next year off State Road 54, and an emergency room and 46-bed psych facility at its current site in New Port Richey.

The Agency for Health Care Administration recommended the project Friday under three conditions: that the ward would stay on Marine Parkway, that at least 15 percent of the facility's patient days would go to Medicaid or charity care, and that the hospital would still serve Baker Act patients.

City Council members, already frustrated that its biggest employer and taxpayer was headed outside the city limits, criticized the hospital's application to the state last month. They worried the ward's incoming and outgoing patients would ensure a continual safety hazard and time sink for police, with Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe saying, "It's going to cost the taxpayers of New Port Richey if they get away with this."

But Mayor Scott McPherson spoke in a more tempered tone Friday, saying he had yet to see any strong evidence the ward would be disastrous.

"The burden has been somewhat theoretical and tough to quantify. At least, I never saw any data that was shocking, as far as any burden it would put on the city," McPherson said. "If the state determined the services are needed, the city will do everything it should do to support that."

Pasco County Commissioner Michael Cox, Sheriff Bob White, local police chiefs and health care administrators sent letters to Tallahassee supporting the hospital, with White saying a denial would result in longer transport for Baker Act patients and "a profound impact on public safety."

The sole letter of opposition came from an attorney representing Windmoor Healthcare of Clearwater, a full-service psychiatric facility, who called the proposal impractical and unnecessary.

Community Hospital CEO Kathy Gillette said the state's approval will allow the hospital to convert what was to be a 36-bed psych ward at the Trinity site into a general medical-surgical ward. Housing the psych ward in the New Port Richey campus is a good solution for dealing with increasing medical needs, she said.

Demolishing some of the New Port Richey campus and renovating about 1,200 square feet of the hospital will cost about $6.1 million. The separate psych ward and ER will continue operating when the other facilities move to Trinity, possibly in October 2011, Gillette said.

"We're more than pleased," Gillette said. "We feel the case was well justified in getting the approval."

Reach Drew Harwell at or (727) 869-6244.

State approves HCA Community Hospital's plans for psych ward in New Port Richey 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  2. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  3. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  4. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement


    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)
  5. Gregg Allman, iconic Southern rocker from Florida's Allman Brothers Band, dies at 69


    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.