BONITA SPRINGS — The state denied Lee Memorial Health System's application to build an 80-bed hospital in South Lee County, the hospital operator says.
“This is unfortunate news for Lee County. A new hospital located in the Bonita Springs-Estero corridor would provide a better distribution of hospital beds for all of Southwest Florida and bring additional capacity that is very much needed during the busy seasonal months,” says Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, in a statement. “It would also significantly reduce emergency travel times for the area's residents and improve their access to acute-care services.”
NCH Healthcare System in Naples challenged Lee Memorial's application to the state for the new hospital. Hospitals must request permission to build from the state and must show that beds are needed in an area.
“We have not received official notice for the reason for the denial, but we do plan to appeal this decision and to fight for this hospital,” Nathan says in the statement.
Lee Memorial is the fifth-largest public health system in the U.S. with more than 10,000 employees. It operates four acute-care hospitals and two specialty hospitals, as well as outpatient centers, walk-in clinics and physician offices. It is preparing to build a new children's hospital in Fort Myers.