State OKs new 100-bed UCF Lake Nona

The University of Central Florida and HCA Healthcare will start building a new 100-bed teaching hospital adjacent ‘s 50-acre College of Medicine campus in southeast Orlando’s Lake Nona community within 18 months. The campus currently has two facilities for classrooms and research.

The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration this week gave final approval for a hospital that’s expected to open for patients by the end of 2020.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s 12 public universities, approved the public/private hospital in March after the state had given the facility preliminary approval. That approval allows UCF to grow the hospital to up to 500 beds without further approval from that board. The planned new hospital will:

  • Train third- and fourth-year medical students from Day One.
  • Allow the UCF medical school to expand its clinical research mission. The university-based teaching hospital is expected to help lure more grants to fund research.
  • Provide more opportunities for medical residency programs.
  • Be a living-learning lab for training medical, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and social work students in teamwork skills and communication.

Building the new hospital also will bring opportunities for designers, builders and vendors, as well as new permanent, high-wage jobs.

Nashville-based HCA’s North Florida Division will contribute $175 million to build and begin operating the hospital, called UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. UCF will provide the land and its academic brand. No state dollars will be used to build the facility. “Together with our partners at HCA, we look forward to strengthening our community’s health, training more doctors and powering economic growth through research,” said UCF President John C. Hitt in a prepared statement.

He has described building the hospital as one of the university’s most important decisions of this decade.

A hospital to advance teaching and clinical research programs has been a UCF priority since the university opened its medical school in 2009. “This hospital and its research mission are part of the economic impact we promised the community when the medical school was built,” said Dr. Deborah German, founding dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs, in a prepared statement. (See the photo gallery for a look inside the medical school.) “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 teaching hospitals. UCF Lake Nona Medical Center will help Central Florida become a national, then global health care destination that will benefit all of our partners and our community