553 So.2d 1351 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1989), 89-572, St. Francis Hosp., Inc. v. Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services

Docket Nº:89-572.
Citation:553 So.2d 1351, 15 Fla. L. Weekly D 21
Opinion Judge:Author: Smith
Party Name:ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL, INC., Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Appellee.
Attorney:Robert A. Weiss of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs, Tallahassee; Thomas D. Watry, Atlanta, for Appellant.
Case Date:December 20, 1989
Court:Florida Court of Appeals, First District

Page 1351

553 So.2d 1351 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1989)

15 Fla. L. Weekly D 21

ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL, INC., Appellant,

v.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Appellee.

No. 89-572.

Florida Court of Appeals, First District.

December 20, 1989

Robert A. Weiss of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs, Tallahassee, Thomas D. Watry, Atlanta, for appellant.

Richard A. Patterson, Asst. General Counsel, Dept. of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahassee, for appellee.

SMITH, Judge.

St. Francis Hospital appeals a final order of the Department of Health and

Page 1352

Rehabilitative Services (HRS) rejecting its application for a certificate of need (CON) to convert medical surgical beds to neonatal intensive care beds. The sole issue on appeal focuses on HRS's non-rule policy that a CON application will be rejected without consideration when the project costs contained in the application exceeds the estimated project costs set forth in the letter of intent (LOI). We reverse.

St. Francis's LOI proposed a total project cost of $463,132.00, but later, in its CON application, after making a more detailed analysis of the project's costs, St. Francis stated $569,625.00 as the actual cost of the project. Although St. Francis received notice of HRS's policy before the CON application deadline, this occurred after the LOI was filed, and it was too late to change the LOI to conform with the more accurate project cost. When HRS rejected its application, St. Francis requested a formal administrative hearing pursuant to section 120.57, Florida Statutes (1987).

HRS's position in this case stems from changes to sections 381.707 and 381.709, effective October 1, 1987. Section 381.709(2)(c) provides in pertinent part:

381.709 Review Process.--The review process for certificates of need shall be as follows:

* * * * * *

(2) Letters of Intent.--

* * * * * *

(c) Letters of Intent shall describe the proposal with specificity, including proposed expenditures.... The letter of intent shall contain a certified copy of a resolution by the board of directors of the applicant ... authorizing the filing of the application described in the letter of intent; authorizing the applicant to incur the expenditures necessary to accomplish the proposed project; certifying that if issued a certificate, the applicant shall accomplish the proposed project ... at or below the costs contained in the application....

Section 381.709(2)(d) required for the first time that an applicant publish a legal advertisement concerning the proposed project within fourteen (14) days after filing a letter of intent. HRS requires this advertisement to reflect the amount of the proposed capital expenditure. Section 381.707 provides, in pertinent part:

381.707 Application Content.--An application for a certificate of need shall contain:

* * * * * *

(2) A...

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