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Coming on Line: More Than $102-Million Invested in Healthcare Projects for Orlando Health in West Orange


More on the way!

More than $102-million is being invested help meet the demand for healthcare services in West Orange County, the second fastest-growing area in Florida. Projects include $29.7 million in funding from the West Orange Healthcare District (The District) for a new freestanding emergency department and medical pavilion at Horizon West, $21 million for the recently opened Cancer Center and $24.5 million for a 110-bed skilled nursing facility currently under construction on the Health Central Hospital campus.

The Cancer Center opened in August, the first floor of the new emergency department opened at the end of September and the Pavilion is set to open in January 2019.

"We've been monitoring the potential healthcare needs in Horizon West for many years," said Norma Sutton, chair of The District, which guides and invests in healthcare facilities and programs throughout West Orange County. "It's exciting to know we're delivering this high level of access years ahead of what would have otherwise been possible. These three projects are all part of our original vision. They help us boost access to healthcare, deliver the latest medical technologies and attract top-notch physicians to our community. We're excited to be able to expedite these new facilities with our funding support."

The Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion - Horizon West is a two-story, 78,000 square foot freestanding emergency department medical pavilion. The first floor, which houses the emergency department containing 24 patient beds, plus an additional six observation beds, is now open. Construction is expected to continue on the medical pavilion's second floor through January 2019. Once complete, the medical office space will feature services that include primary care, family medicine, OB/GYN, general surgery, laboratory, orthopedics, neurology, urology, cardiology, pharmacy, outpatient rehabilitation and a center for health improvement.

"We are excited to open this new facility and offer its enhanced services to the Horizon West community," said Mark Marsh, President of Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital. "Having the support of The District has been instrumental in our ability to keep pace with the population growth not only here, but all across West Orange County."

Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center - Health Central Hospital will offer expanded chemotherapy and radiation treatment areas, medical oncology services, surgical oncology consultations, laboratory facilities, and Cancer Support Community programs. At 30,000 square feet, it almost doubles the size of the existing facility.

It will be the first cancer treatment facility in Central Florida to offer a new cancer-fighting technology called MRIdian®. With this advanced technology, oncologists can view and track tumors during radiation treatments, allowing physicians to make immediate changes to treatment. The new technology uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rather than computed tomography (CT) scans, reducing patient exposure to the damaging effects of radiation.

"This new facility is greatly needed and there's no better place for it than right here on this campus, in this community, where families in West Orange County live, work, and play," said Mark Roh, MD, president of Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. "In fact, evidence proves that patients battling cancer have better results when they are treated closer to home."

Rick Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center-Health Central Hospital, said it will be a convenience to patients to have all three major services for oncology - surgical oncology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology - all under one roof.

"The other thing I would mention there is we have the latest technology in the ray linear accelerator," Smith said. "I think we're number five or six in the country served with this technology. Those are the two key takeaway points, from my perspective, on the Cancer Center."

Smith said the projects will easily be expandable in the future.

"I think each one of these projects, the cancer center, the skilled nursing facility, and the freestanding ED were all designed with an expansion portal already contemplated. Obviously, the cancer center, we built it almost double the size of our existing cancer center, because cancer is unfortunately so prevalent in our community. Same could be said for the center for rehabilitation. Obviously, with the land we have on our campus here, expansion would be easy to accomplish," said Smith.

He also said a hospital is planned for the not-too-distant future.

"Although, we feel pretty confident that 110 beds will serve us for a number of years to come. Our plan all along has been to develop a hospital on that site at some point, and with the property we have there that won't be an issue. I mean, obviously, we want to start as soon as it's feasible. Our target has been in '18 or '19, to correspond to the population growth there," he said.

The new Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation will improve access and expand healthcare services provided, said Mark Marsh, President of Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital.

"This skilled nursing facility will allow our patients to receive the highly specialized levels of rehabilitative and post-acute care they require in a state-of-the-art facility here in the community they call home," Marsh said.

The 95,000-square-foot Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation will be a 110-bed skilled nursing facility capable of providing care to patients in need of either short-term outpatient rehabilitative services or patients in need of long-term care. A portion of those beds will be dedicated to inpatient rehabilitation for orthopedic/spine injury patients or post-surgery patients in need of additional care prior to returning home. The facility will also house a separate memory care unit, built to provide a secure and attractive setting to care for patients suffering from Alzheimer's and/or dementia.

Sutton said this new facility is being welcomed with open arms.

"Our mission is to enhance the health and wellness of the residents of our community and this project brings high-quality healthcare right to our doorstep," said Sutton. "It's a wonderful addition to the campus."

Construction began late this year and is expected to take 12-14 months. Once fully operational, the new facility will staff 150 full-time employees.

Another new offering is the CareSpot Urgent Care/Orlando Health center in Ocoee which opened July 30, becoming the partnership's tenth urgent care facility.

The District is an independent special healthcare entity created by the 1949 Florida Legislature that is governed by a 16-member Board appointed by the Governor of Florida. The District is a founding champion of "Healthy West Orange," a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation. More information at



Partners Break Ground for New UCF-HCA Hospital

"You all ready to build a hospital?"

With those words -- from Michael Joyce, president of HCA Healthcare's North Florida Division - university and HCA leaders, faculty physicians, medical students and community leaders broke ground Thursday for UCF Lake Nona Medical Center.

The UCF-HCA joint venture hospital will open in late 2020 on 25 acres across from the UCF College of Medicine.

About 500 guests attended the groundbreaking event, which began with an early morning rainbow.

UCF President Dale Whittaker said the hospital embodies a bold, collaborative spirit that will "make Orlando a destination for how health and wellness should be taught and practiced in the 21st century."

The hospital groundbreaking came eleven years and 22 days after university and community leaders broke ground for the UCF College of Medicine as the anchor of an emerging Medical City at Lake Nona.

"A teaching hospital was part of our dream that day," said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and founding dean. "On Oct. 3, 2007, we didn't know who our partner would be or how we would build such a hospital. But we knew then what we know today - that we needed a teaching hospital to accomplish our goal to be one of the nation's premier 21st century medical schools, anchoring a Medical City that could one day be a global destination."

The hospital will be just a few steps from a new UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center that will be created in the former Sanford Burnham Prebys research facility. And it will be the cornerstone for UCF's new Academic Health Sciences Center that will eventually bring many of the university's health-related programs to Lake Nona.

Wendy Brandon, the new CEO of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, said the new academic hospital will incorporate medical education, research and patient care. "Our hospital will be a place that not only provides healing for our patients but also educates the healthcare providers of the future and supports the work of brilliant researchers that will lead to lifesaving care," she said.

UCF medical students applauded the role the hospital will play in preparing them as future physicians. UCF and HCA are already partnering to create residency programs across North Central and Central Florida and soon will expand those graduate medical education programs to Pensacola. Ultimately, the new hospital will have its own residents but will provide clerkship training for third- and fourth-year medical students from the time it opens.

"The UCF Lake Nona Medical Center will allow us to give back to and serve the community that has embraced us so warmly," said medical student Kevin Petersen, Student Council president for the Class of 2021. "Today, we are one step closer to creating a healthier tomorrow... the UCF way."

In preparation for his remarks, Petersen did an online survey of all 490 current UCF College of Medicine students and asked what the new hospital meant to each. He created a framed image of the hospital rendering with some of the students' quotes and presented it to Dr. German "to thank you for believing in your dream and for believing in us... and also to remind you of the inspiration you provide all of us students on a daily basis."

With the groundbreaking ceremony finished, construction of the hospital will begin. The hospital's foundation will be poured by January. The three-story hospital will open at 204,079 square feet with 64 beds and shelled space enabling expansion to 80 beds. UCF Lake Nona Medical Center is authorized to grow to 500 beds without further state approval.

The hospital is a joint venture between HCA Healthcare and UCF Academic Health, a direct service organization of the university. HCA is spending $175 million to build and begin operating the hospital. No state dollars are being used.

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