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Process eased for adding hospitals in Florida

Miami Herald, May 20, 2008
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has signed into law rules streamlining future state approval for hospitals around the state. Because of concerns that certificate of need laws are anti-competitive, Florida deregulated much of CON in the past decade, eliminating the need to go through the process to add beds or start open-heart-surgery units. But Florida's review process for new hospitals continued and took up to 10 years or more, because it allowed rival hospitals to mount seemingly endless legal roadblocks. Under the new rules, hospitals will have to state their opposition to a new facility at the start of the review process, and a hospital that challenges a regulatory decision in court and loses would have to pay the applicant hospital's legal fees, up to $1 million.