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Health Care Learning Lab: The Villages

Will Vragoic
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The gigantic retirement community known as The Villages -- with almost 100,000 residents who like getting around in golf carts -- has teamed up with the University of South Florida to create medical homes with an old-time friendly style of primary care, the Tampa Bay Times reports

Dr. Elliot Sussman has been named chairman of The Villages Health System, as well as a USF  professor. USF Health CEO and president Dr. Stephen Klasko, who is leaving USF, was the one who dreamed up the project and made it real.

For the villagers, it means one-stop shopping for health care in the mold of Marcus Welby, a beloved TV character from the 1960s. For USF, it means a priceless training program and database that researchers can follow over time, allowing for discoveries in the same manner as the Framingham Heart Study of decades ago.

USF Physicians Group put $4 million into the project, and the founder of The Villages, Gary Morse, has contributed a "considerable" amount, which USF officials declined to specify. United Healthcare is serving as the health-insurance partner for the project.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.