THE PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA d/b/a JACKSON SOUTH COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, Appellant,
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, Appellee, KENDALL HEALTHCARE GROUP, LTD. d/b/a KENDALL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from an Order of the Department of Health.
F. Panza, Paul C. Buckley, and Brian S. Vidas of Panza,
Maurer & Maynard, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for Appellant.
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Legal Counsel, and Sarah Young
Hodges, Chief Appellate Counsel, Tallahassee, for Appellee
Department of Health.
Stephen A. Ecenia, J. Stephen Menton, and Gabriel F. V.
Warren of Rutledge Ecenia, P.A., Tallahassee, for
Appellee/Cross-Appellant Kendall Healthcare Group, Ltd. d/b/a
Kendall Regional Medical Center.
Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, Florida d/b/a
Jackson South Community Hospital (Jackson South) appeals an
order of the Department of Health (Department) dismissing as
moot Jackson South's petition for a formal administrative
hearing to contest the Department's decision to deny
Jackson South's application to operate a provisional
Level II trauma center after Jackson South was granted a
provisional license in the following application cycle.
Because we conclude that an actual case or controversy
continues to exist with respect to Jackson South's first
application, we reverse and remand for the Department to
consider Jackson South's administrative challenge on the
begin with a brief overview of the statutory and regulatory
framework governing the trauma center application and
selection process. The Florida Legislature has delegated the
primary responsibility for the planning and establishment of
a statewide inclusive trauma system to the Department. §
395.40(3), Fla. Stat. (2015). As part of this legislative
mandate, the Department is charged with allocating, by rule,
the number of trauma centers needed for each of the
state's 19 trauma service areas (TSA), subject to the
limitations that each TSA should have at least one Level I or
Level II trauma center and there may be no more than 44
trauma centers statewide. § 395.402(4)(a)-(c), Fla.
Stat. (2015). Relevant to this appeal, TSA 19, which
comprises Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, is permitted a
maximum of three trauma centers. Fla. Admin. Code R.
Application and Selection Process
trauma center application and selection process is a lengthy,
multistage process that begins each year with the Department
notifying acute care hospitals and trauma agencies that it is
accepting letters of intent from those hospitals interested
in becoming trauma centers. § 395.4025(2)(a), Fla. Stat.
(2015). Letters of intent are due by October 1, and the
Department thereafter distributes an application package to
each hospital that timely submitted a letter of intent.
§ 395.4025(2)(a)-(b), Fla. Stat. (2015). The completed
application is due by April 1 of the following year. §
395.4025(2)(c), Fla. Stat. (2015).
the Department receives a trauma center application, it
conducts a provisional review "for the purpose of
determining that the hospital's application is complete
and that the hospital has the critical elements required for
a trauma center." Id. If the Department finds
the hospital's application acceptable based on the
provisional review, the hospital is "eligible to operate
as a provisional trauma center." § 395.4025(3),
Fla. Stat. (2015).
Between May 1 and October 1, the process entails an
"in-depth evaluation" by the Department of all
applications found acceptable in the provisional review.
§ 395.4025(4), Fla. Stat. (2015). And between October 1
and June 1, a review team of out-of-state experts assembled
by the Department conducts onsite visits of all provisionally
approved trauma centers. § 395.4025(5), Fla. Stat.
(2015). Based on the recommendations from the review team,
the Department selects verified trauma centers by July 1 of
the second year following the filing of the letter of intent.
§ 395.4025(6), Fla. Stat. (2015). If the number of
qualified provisional trauma centers exceeds the number of
available slots for verified trauma centers in the applicable
TSA, the Department applies a tiebreaking process developed
by rule to make the final selection(s). Fla. Admin. Code R.
64J-2.016(11). Upon final verification, the trauma center is
granted approval to operate for seven years, provided it
continues to maintain trauma center standards and acceptable
patient outcomes, and may thereafter apply for renewal.
§ 395.4025(6), Fla. Stat. (2015).