The University of Central Florida today selected Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest hospital company, as its partner to build a proposed teaching hospital next door to the College of Medicine in Lake Nona.

UCF’s Board of Trustees approved the partnership between HCA’s North Florida Division and UCF Academic Health, a direct support organization to the university. All three of Central Florida’s hospital organizations submitted proposals to help build an 80- to 100-bed teaching hospital on 25 acres of UCF-owned land.

Under the plan, HCA will pay all costs to build and operate the hospital; UCF will seek no state funds for the project. The two will share governance of the facility on a 50-50 basis.

“I think this is one of the most important decisions we’re going to make this decade,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “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 teaching hospital if we are going to achieve our highest ambitions for the medical college.”

Following final negotiations, the partnership agreement will go to the State of Florida, which must award a certificate of need for any new hospital in Lake Nona. The fact that multiple applications were filed for such a certificate underscores the need for a hospital in that area. The proposal also requires approval by the Florida Board of Governors, which governs the State University System.

Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, said a university-based teaching hospital is necessary for UCF to bring the economic development anticipated when the state approved the medical school in 2006.

“A UCF teaching hospital is the next step in delivering on the promise we made to our community,” she said. “This hospital will expand Orlando’s research and clinical potential. With it, we have the potential to become a medical destination where research, patient care and education are fully integrated into the care of every patient.”

Michael P. Joyce, FACHE, president of HCA’s North Florida Division said, “We are honored to deepen our longstanding partnership with UCF through this venture, which will expand access to critically needed physician education and training while addressing the medical needs of Lake Nona and surrounding communities. HCA’s North Florida Division is committed to growing with our region, and we are eager to serve the vibrant community of Lake Nona.”

UCF Academic Health invited hospitals across the nation, state and community to submit partnership proposals for a hospital to serve the growing Lake Nona area. The medical school already has partnerships with all three local hospitals and others across Central Florida and the state. Florida Hospital and Orlando Health provide clerkship training for students. Florida Hospital shares building space in Medical City with UCF Health, the College of Medicine physician practice. A consortium between HCA and the medical school is expected to bring at least 580 residency slots to Central Florida by 2020. Physicians from all three Central Florida hospitals are among the medical school’s 2,200 volunteer and affiliated faculty.

“Community partnerships helped create this medical school and are a key to our future growth and success,” German said. “We hope all of these partnerships will continue and will grow in ways that meet the needs of our community.”