St. Petersburg, Florida- City council members voted Thursday to approve the sale of Bayfront Medical Center, the city's main level 2 trauma center, to a company called Health Management Associates.
The deal comes with a 50-year lease to HMA for the land Bayfront is built on.
City council members listened as a line of doctors and St. Pete residents stood up in unanimous support of the proposal. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster told the council everything about the deal "was right" and that the new venture would ensure a high level of medical care in St. Petersburg and across the Bay area for decades to come.
Concerns were raised by city council members about the level of care currently provided in the Bayfront Emergency Room.
A spokesman for HMA said the company was committed to maintaining Bayfront at a Level 2 trauma center, and care would only improve with the hospital investing $100 million in the facility.
The arrangement would also link Bayfront Medical Center with Shands Hospital in Gainesville, the medical research institution of the University of Florida. City leaders say Bayfront would benefit from the high level of research conducted at Shands along with one of the state's premier burn centers.
"We have done our due diligence," said councilman Bill Dudley assuring city residents the sale was the right decision for the city. "I can tell you we have vetted this thing out. We live here too."
Steve Kornell, of District 5, was the only councilmember voting against the sale, voicing concern a minimum dollar amount was not set for the amount of charity care the hospital would provide. Hospital officials assured the council the minimum requirement to be eligible for charity care would not change and that no patient could ever be turned away because of an inability to pay.
The deal most next win state approval before becoming official in April.
Follow 10 News Reporter Beau Zimmer on twitter @Zimm10