a hotel with palm trees in front of it
Lower Keys Medical Center and its doctors group provided care to more than 128,000 patients last year. CONTRIBUTED

Our Hospital Key West (OHKW) is a citizens advocacy group composed of Key West residents. Its advisers, members and supporters come from all walks of life, including physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, past and present Lower Keys Medical Center employees, attorneys, city and county workers, business owners, hospitality workers, retirees and many other backgrounds. Our mission is to seek the best possible levels of care at our public hospital. 

In five years, on April 30, 2029, the existing lease of our public hospital, Lower Keys Medical Center, to Community Health Systems Inc., expires with no provision for automatic extension or renewal. As a public hospital, Lower Keys Medical Center is governed by the Lower Florida Keys Hospital District, a Florida state governing entity, through its local board of commissioners who are appointed by the governor. In late 2023 the hospital district board and the existing hospital operator, Community Health Systems Inc., ascertained preemptively that Community Health Systems Inc. desires to renew its lease with the hospital district board.  

Given that the hospital district and its board, and current hospital operator, Community Health Systems Inc., have preemptively ascertained that CHS desires to renew their lease, OHKW, our advisors and supporters are asking the hospital district board members to formally invite additional leading South Florida hospital operators to submit detailed letters of interest, perhaps inclusive of, but not limited to, plans for levels of care/specialties, initial investments and continued reinvestment of operating income into the facility/personnel, financial integrity and any additional commitments they’re willing to formalize to attain consideration for the next lease term of our public hospital.  

It is OHKW’s position that only through an objective comparison between Community Health Systems’ offering details to renew its lease, along with a comparison of other leading South Florida hospital operators offering details in order to become the successor lessee/hospital operator in 2029, can the public’s best interest be served.  

OHKW is asking the public to attend the hospital district board meeting to voice their sentiments. The meeting takes place Wednesday, May 8 at 2:30 p.m. at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave., Key West, on the second floor. Visit OHKW.org for more information.

Our Hospital Key West 
Citizens advocacy group