by: News Service of Florida\/Action News Updated:
ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A Clay County hospital has dismissed a challenge to a Florida Department of Health decision last year that closed its trauma center, according to documents filed this week in the state Division of Administrative Hearings.
The department in 2011 allowed Orange Park Medical Center to open a trauma center under what is known as a "provisional" status. But in early 2013, the department said the hospital had not met standards needed to receive a more-permanent status, a decision that effectively ended trauma-center operations.
The hospital filed an administrative challenge, which was largely put on hold amid a broader legal and political fight about the approval of new trauma centers in the state. Though Orange Park was at least initially part of that fight, its trauma program was closed for other reasons.
An administrative law judge last month approved a new proposed rule for approving trauma centers. That rule revised criteria for the department's consideration of additional trauma facilities.
David Goldberg, OPMC director of marketing and public relations, provided the following statement to Action News: "The Florida Department of Health approved a trauma rule this past month that does not allow a second trauma center to be opened in northeast Florida, in spite of the proven community need. Although Orange Park Medical Center was forced to drop the appeal, Orange Park Medical Center will continue to pursue a trauma designation, as the community need only continues to grow and lives are unnecessarily being lost to due this recent rule change."