Florida regulators have approved plans for three new hospitals in Lee and Collier counties, a decision that reverses the state’s view four years ago that no new health centers were needed in the region.

This means that Lee Health may proceed with plans to build an 82-bed hospital on a medical campus it is already building in Estero.

But it also means that HCA Healthcare, which left Southwest Florida more than a decade ago, may open its own 80-bed hospital and inpatient psychiatric facility near Corkscrew Road and U.S. 41 in that same community.

A third approved plan from Braden Clinic in Ave Maria calls for the construction of a 25-bed health center in that community.