Residents make case for new hospital in South Lee County

Residents make case for new hospital in South Lee County

By Colleen Hogan. CREATED Apr 23, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Southwest Florida residents came out to support the proposed building of a new 80-bed hospital in south Lee County today.

A public hearing was held as part of the state's process to decide if there's a need for a new hospital, among other things. 

The agency for Health Care Administration will host a meeting today at 9:30 a.m. at Hodges University in Ft. Myers with state regulators and the public. 

"This growing area of Lee County, in the next few years, about one-third of the entire population of Lee County will be there," Jim Nathan, President of Lee Memorial Health System, said. "But more importantly, it's a heavily weighted senior population."

Estero Fire Chief Scott Vanderbrook spoke in favor of the proposed 80-bed hospital, that would be built in his fire district. He says calls for service have spiked 11-percent over the last two years, thanks in part to rapid growth.

"We get there in four or five minutes and we'll have sometimes a lengthy wait for an ambulance to get there," Vanderbrookn said. "They're coming a long distance from a hospital. So it does affect the crews on the streets and also affects the care we can provide."

The state has until June 7 to decide if Lee Memorial Health System can proceed with plans.

Colleen Hogan, reporter