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UCF Chooses HCA To Build Its Teaching Hospital

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

For-profit hospital operator HCA has been picked to build a teaching hospital at the University of Central Florida.

The UCF Board of Trustees made the selection this morning. HCA will pay to build and operate the teaching hospital at Medical City; UCF said it will not seek state money for the project.

Dr. Deborah German, dean of the UCF College of Medicine, said when people have run out of treatments, they often turn to academic medical centers, which have doctors doing clinical research.

“Florida will have a place where people from all over the country, and perhaps all over the world, come to get their medical care,” German said. “And it’ll be a place where corporations who rely on biomedical research want to locate because the talent is here.”

So why did UCF choose HCA over Florida Hospital and Orlando Health? For-profit HCA had a few key advantages over Florida Hospital, the first of which was that it was secular, while Florida Hospital is a religious organization.

HCA also has access to a national clinical database that can be used for research. HCA also proposed more than 580 residency slots, more than three times as many as Florida Hospital.

And the HCA proposal gave UCF  a 20 percent equity stake in the teaching hospital, and a 50 percent seat on the board. The project  is expected to generate nearly a billion dollars for UCF over the next 30 years.

UCF must still get state approval to build the teaching hospital, It must also get approval from the board overseeing Florida’s university system. 

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.