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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jul. 16, 201412:00 PM EST

Memorial drops challenge against UF Health hospital near airport

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A long-simmering dispute about plans for a new hospital in northern Duval County appears to be finished, after another Jacksonville hospital dismissed a legal challenge this month.

The issue stems from an effort by UF Health Jacksonville, formerly known as Shands Jacksonville, to build a new hospital near Jacksonville International Airport.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration in December gave preliminary approval for what is known as a “certificate of need” for the project.

But Memorial Hospital Jacksonville filed a challenge to the approval in the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

Documents indicate the two hospitals were in settlement talks this summer, and Memorial filed a notice July 3 that it was dismissing the case.

Dan Leveton, a spokesman for UF Health Jacksonville, released a statement Tuesday that said the project involves opening a medical office building, including an emergency room and operating suites, in early 2015 and then opening a “hospital bed tower” in 2017.

“We are pleased that opposition to the Agency for Health Care Administration’s preliminary approval of our application for a certificate of need to build a hospital in North Jacksonville has been withdrawn,’’ the statement from Leveton said. “This enables us to continue our plans to serve that rapidly growing community.”

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