Villages Hospital to join UF Health

The ShandsCair helicopter takes off from The Villages Regional Hospital, which is joining UF Health.

The Villages Regional Hospital is getting a new parent. Central Florida Health, which operates Leesburg Regional Medical Center as well as TVRH, will be acquired by UF Health in early 2020 pending final reviews, the two medical networks announced Tuesday. The two local hospitals will be rebranded UF Health The Villages and UF Health Leesburg, and will join a network of eight other hospitals associated with the University of Florida, including UF Health Shands in Gainesville and UF Health in Jacksonville. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. After the merger, UF Health’s 2,158 hospital beds will rank second in Florida behind AdventHealth’s 6,447 beds, according to the Agency for Healthcare Administration.

UF Health also announced last week that it is collaborating with The Villages Developer to build another acute-care hospital in The Villages within the next few years.

The health system also operates six health colleges and nine research centers.

In January, a new UF Health 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 had a complementary, collegial relationship that has already begun to expand the health care services available to patients in the area,” said David R. Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.

“Together we will concentrate on leveraging each other’s strengths as we aim to serve the community by providing the best possible patient care and training the next generation of health care providers. We are looking forward to working with community physicians who practice at the hospitals and others on the health care team to bring the latest health care advances to the region.”

UF Health physicians already work with Central Florida Health in such areas as providing comprehensive stroke care. That existing affiliation has emphasized the development of leading-edge patient care programs and access to clinical studies for residents of Lake, Sumter and Marion counties.

It provides educational opportunities geared to meet the demand for primary care physicians in a rapidly growing region. Studies show that doctors tend to establish their practices close to where they complete their training.

“UF Health is at the forefront of a variety of clinical and research advances, and the University of Florida ranks among the top public universities in the country,” said Don Henderson, CEO of Central Florida Health. “We’re looking forward to being able to offer additional depth and new alternatives for local residents requiring specialized care in areas where there is a growing community need, while also ensuring they are able to easily obtain primary care.”

Officials also will discuss establishing common approaches to quality care and safety initiatives.

“Combining our organizations’ talents and resources is easy because we share common values and a common vision,” said Ed Jimenez, chief executive officer of UF Health Shands. “The patient is at the center of everything we do.”