TAMPA - President Judy Genshaft had some big news to deliver during her yearly State of the University address Wednesday afternoon.
Experts believe stand-alone hospitals will soon be a thing of the past. To survive they will have to be part of a hospital system. That's why USF is joining forces with Florida's 5th largest hospital.
It's a partnership between USF Health and Lakeland Regional Hospital.
USF President Judy Genshaft says the deal will create up to 250 new residency positions and make Lakeland Regional a teaching hospital, where patients will be the real winners.
"Our state needs doctors prepared to evolve with our population, and this hospital partnership will do exactly that," said Genshaft.
Dr. Elaine Thompson is CEO at Lakeland Regional. She says collaborating with USF Health is a win-win situation. "The more you can learn, the more you bring education and research to help drive down costs and still deliver care to a population, these kind of partnerships our critical."
She says no matter which presidential candidate wins in November, there are challenges ahead for the healthcare community and they need to be ready.
"Timing is perfect I think right now. Across the country healthcare organizations want to be prepared for what changes we need to do for healthcare reform," said Thompson.
USF is already affiliated with Tampa General Hospital, but this relationship with Lakeland Regional is much more involved.
"People talk about UPMC, Pittsburgh. People talk about San Diego because of UCSD. But it's never just the university. It's the university and the partnerships that have evolved through that university," said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of USF's College of Medicine.
USF Health is hoping to make this a statewide organization. They are going to become the center for healthcare in the Villages. And officials say the partnership with Lakeland Regional could be the first of many hospitals in the future.
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