The Struggle of Lehigh Acres
It has come to my attention that Lehigh Regional is requesting that their Certificate of Need be transferred within our County. What you may or may not know is that their moving could be detrimental to our Community. It is not only Lehigh Acres residents that use the facility but, neighboring areas as well. Alva, LaBelle (Hendry County), some Collier County and Glades County residents also use the hospital because it is the closest facility to them. My concern is that it will leave a large gap in this area. Lee Memorial Health System facilities are around 12-15 miles from this area and if there is a major emergency, patients may not be able to survive the long drive. Lehigh Regional’s new location would not make that drive any closer. The MedFlight helicopters have also been outsourced recently making air travel more expensive and possibly longer response times.
As I am sure you are well aware, LMHS also sent a Letter of Intent to build a facility in the area where Lehigh Regional is asking to move their hospital to. I think Lehigh Regional and residents that use the facility could benefit more from having upgrades done to the current facility rather than just changing it to just an ER. Some Doctors do not support the current Hospital and my fear is that even less would support them if they are allowed to make this change.
Lehigh Acres is a growing area of approximately 90,000 residents. Estero is currently serviced by Gulf Coast Hospital on Daniels Parkway. A distance of approximately 5-7 miles from the location that Lehigh Regional is asking to move to and 5 miles from the proposed site for LMHS new 80 bed hospital. My thought is that Lehigh Regional’s move would saturate that area and multiple hospitals would struggle.