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Four appeals will challenge hospital moves

Every hospital that said it would appeal Community and North Bay hospitals' move to the Trinity area has done so.

State Agency for Health Care Administration spokeswoman Kim Reed told the St. Petersburg Times on Friday that only one appeal had been filed as of 4:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline. On Monday, she said she had been incorrect. The other appeals were filed and sitting in the "in box" of an employee who was out on Friday, Reed said.

"We had a miscommunication," she said.

The hospital moves were approved by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Hospitals in Pasco and Pinellas counties that think they will be affected by the moves could appeal. Appeals were due Friday to the state's Division of Administrative Hearings, which can overturn the previous approvals.

Four hospitals have filed appeals.

Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs appealed the moves by both hospitals. So did Mease Countryside, a 144-bed hospital on McMullen-Booth Road south of Curlew Road.

North Bay appealed Community's move, and Community did the same of North Bay's move.

On Monday, spokeswoman Reed said her agency was assigning attorneys to each appeal. No hearing dates had been set, she said.

She also said her agency was still determining whether an appeal filed by state Rep. Heather Fiorentino, R-New Port Richey, has legal standing. Fiorentino has said that maybe one hospital should be allowed to relocate but losing both hospitals would hurt New Port Richey.

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