The State University System’s Board of Governors in Tallahassee unanimously approved a hospital partnership between UCF Academic Health and the North Florida Division of Hospital Corporation of America.

Soon the University of Central Florida will provide health care services as well as education and research through its own hospital system named UCF Lake Nona Medical Center.

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The hospital will help the UCF College of Medicine increase residencies and clinically-based research, ultimately building Medical City into a healthcare destination providing first-class health care.

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Knight News obtained renderings of the 25.2-acre medical complex.

“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,” UCF President John C. Hitt said.

Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) will spend $175 million in cash to build and begin operations of a 100-bed hospital, according to documents obtained by Knight News. Under the current lease, the number of beds will expand to 500 with the addition of other facilities.

Phase one includes the phase one hospital with parking and an emergency medical department. Phase two will include vertical growth to the phase one hospital and the phase two Outpatient Services & Physician Practice Building, according to current renderings.

Construction will begin within 18 months of the Final CON, with completion within 40 months, according to the Board of Governors.

No state money will be used and UCF will not incur any debt, according to university officials. UCF and HCA will share governance, each appointing four members to the hospital board, officials said.

“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 to Central Floridians.”

UCF purchased land in Medical City in 2012 and quickly began to seek partners. In Summer 2016, UCF formally invited hospitals nationwide to submit partnership proposals. HCA, Florida Hospital, and Orlando Health submitted proposals.

UCF trustees approved a partnership with HCA in September 2016 centered on the experience of the nationwide hospital’s operations in addition to its financial strength and extensive research programs.

Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine ten years ago, spoke on the necessity of the hospital and economic promises UCF made when the college was approved.

“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,” German said.

Lake Nona is one of the Top 10 fastest-selling master-planned communities in the United States and the fastest-selling in Orlando, according to UCF.

Dr. Hitt’s message to students via Knightsmail:

A Big Day for UCF, Orlando

At UCF, we’re proudly known for being big.

Being big is about more than the number of students we enroll. It’s about how we look at the world — UCF is a university that thinks big, acts big and, most important, dreams big.

I was delighted to be in Tallahassee today to see a big UCF dream come true.

The State University System’s Board of Governors unanimously approved a new UCF hospital. Our hospital will focus on building a healthier community, training more physicians, and powering economic growth through research.

We know that the best health systems have an academic component at their heart and that the best medical schools have hospitals.

The UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, which will be built adjacent to the UCF College of Medicine, is a public-private partnership with the North Florida Division of Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest hospital company.

As with most ambitious projects, legions of people have contributed to its success. I appreciate the contributions of everyone, including our College of Medicine faculty and staff and our HCA partners, and want to note the special efforts made by:

  • UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena, Vice Chairman Bob Garvy, and Trustee Joe Conte;
  • Dr. Deborah German, College of Medicine dean and vice president for Medical Affairs, and Jeanette Schreiber, associate vice president for Medical Affairs and chief legal officer for the College of Medicine; and
  • Dr. Dale Whittaker, provost and executive vice president; Scott Cole, vice president and general counsel; and Dr. Dan Holsenbeck, senior vice president for University Relations.

Very few moments can truly alter the destiny of an institution. For UCF, today was one of them.
Today’s approval demonstrates the power of big ideas. This success encourages me to keep dreaming big about how we can improve the lives of our students and the quality of life in our community.

Go Knights!

Cordially yours,
John C. Hitt