If you live in south Lee County, you could soon have a shorter drive to the hospital. Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration recently approved two hospitals in the village - one by Lee Health south of Coconut Point, and the other HCA Health Care near U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Road.
But competing health companies could challenge ACHA's decision, such as NCH Healthcare System and Physician's Regional. They and other companies have until June 25 to file a petition with ACHA, which could reverse the preliminary approval.
Walt Buchner, who has lived in Estero for 15 years, said the community has been hoping for a hospital there for the past ten years.
""There's been dramatic growth in the area," he said. "Once we started to grow and became a sizable community, we realized we needed a medical facility."
An application by Lee Health to build a hospital in the south Lee County village was denied by ACHA four years ago, but the agency changed its mind after seeing Lee Health's recent proposal.
"Part of that was, they recognized the elderly component of the community," said Don Eslick, chair of the Estero Council of Community Leaders.
Lee Health's Coconut Point facility, which is under construction, was designed as an outpatient center that could be reconfigured as a hospital. HCA's 70-bed hospital would be located a few miles away.
Fox 4 checked with Physician's Regional and NCH to see if either company plans to challenge ACHA's decision to approve the hospitals. A spokeswoman with Physician's Regional said that they are reviewing the matter. A call to NCH was not returned by late Friday.