A new hospital focused on building a healthier community, training more physicians and powering economic growth through research earned a key approval Thursday from the State University System’s Board of Governors in Tallahassee.
UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, which will be built adjacent to the UCF College of Medicine, is a public-private partnership with UCF Academic Health, a direct support organization to the university, and the North Florida Division of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation’s largest hospital company.
Focused on providing healthcare services to the community as well as education and research, the hospital will help the College of Medicine increase residencies and clinically based research, and ultimately help build Medical City into more of a healthcare destination providing first-class health care.
The hospital “will fulfill our promise to become a hub of innovation and a healthier Orlando,” said UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena.
“The aspirations that we have worked on from day one are that we would have a first-rate, top-tier medical school. It is clear to me that we need a hospital if we are going to achieve our highest ambitions for the medical college,” said UCF President John C. Hitt.
Under the agreement, HCA will spend $175 million in cash to build and begin operations of a 100-bed hospital. No state money will be used and UCF will not incur any debt. UCF and HCA will share governance, each appointing four members to the hospital board.
Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine, said the hospital is necessary for UCF to deliver on the economic development promises it made when the college was approved more than 10 years ago. “In the United States and around the world, the best health systems have an academic component at their heart and the best medical schools have hospitals,” she said.
In 2012, the university purchased the land in Medical City and began seeking partners. Last summer, UCF formally invited hospitals nationwide to submit partnership proposals. HCA, Florida Hospital and Orlando Health did. In September, UCF trustees approved a partnership with HCA, citing its nationwide hospital operations experience, financial strength and extensive research programs.
“We are grateful to the Board of Governors for their approval and very excited to move forward in building a community-based teaching facility,” said Michael P. Joyce, FACHE, President of HCA’s North Florida Division. “Today marks a milestone for all of us at HCA. This investment benefits the future physicians we’re privileged to train, as well as the entire Lake Nona community. It also allows us to expand our footprint in the Orlando area, making healthcare more accessible for Central Floridians.”
Lake Nona is one of the Top 10 fastest-selling master-planned communities in the United States and the fastest-selling in Orlando. More than 1,000 families are moving to Lake Nona every year.