Building on a strategic affiliation that has connected local residents to leading-edge stroke care and other health care services for several years, UF Health and Central Florida Health have agreed to evolve their relationship, with UF Health to acquire its two regional hospitals in early 2020, pending final reviews.
Leesburg Regional Medical Center will become UF Health Leesburg Hospital, and The Villages® Regional Hospital will become UF Health The Villages® Hospital.
The move will strengthen and improve the availability of high-quality, efficient, affordable health care for Lake, Sumter and Marion counties through the 660-bed regional system, and will preserve and enhance the hospitals’ focus on other important missions of research, medical education and charity care. Over time, long-term capital plans for facility improvements and new equipment and technologies will be considered, including construction of a new general acute care hospital in association with The Villages®.
In January, a new 24-hour freestanding emergency room will open on State Road 44 in Wildwood, just across from Brownwood Paddock Square in The Villages®.
UF Health and Central Florida Health have been working to develop leading-edge patient care programs and improve access to specialty services, advanced technology and clinical studies for area residents. The focus has included creating primary care physician training opportunities to meet the increasing demand for primary care physicians as the region’s population quickly grows.
UF Health physicians work with Central Florida Health to provide comprehensive stroke care and telestroke services to their patients when needed, offering timely access to the latest technology and the most advanced treatments available, and providing around-the-clock access to consults with a vascular neurologist regarding treatment plans and decisions related to administration of the clot-busting drug tPA for patients who remain in the local area. UF Health also provides educational opportunities, including continuing medical education about the latest in stroke care.
The demand for primary care physicians is increasing as the region’s population quickly grows, and doctors tend to establish their practices close to where they complete their training. Expanding the physician workforce also provides added economic benefits to the local community — and throughout the state.
Officials also will discuss establishing common approaches to quality care and safety initiatives.
Technically known as a member substitution agreement, the news regarding the two hospitals is the latest step in UF Health’s commitment to making high-quality, compassionate health care more accessible and comes in the wake of an announcement last week that The Villages® and University of Florida Health have signed a letter of intent to work together to develop a comprehensive health care campus offering a full portfolio of education, research, and advanced health care and wellness services for The Villages® community, including construction of a new general acute care hospital. Jimenez said UF, UF Health and The Villages® aim to create a national model for healthier communities that promotes healthier living throughout the region.
The Villages® seeks to become America’s “healthiest hometown,” and the broad vision will include a variety of UF Health medical practices as well as teaching and research alliances with various UF colleges, such as Dentistry, Health and Human Performance, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, along with associated centers and institutes. UF/IFAS extension programming focused on food and nutrition also will be a highlight.
The University of Florida will provide the breadth of knowledge, talented faculty and resources to ensure that healthy living is integrated into the very fabric of the community through health, education and wellness programs; UF Health will ensure a forward-looking approach to prevention, early detection and health promotion.
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