Advertisement
  1. Health

Downtown Tampa needs a 'medical district,' hospital CEO says

Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris wants to create a ?medical district,? working primarily with the University of South Florida. Clockwise from left, the district would include the hospital; a new free-standing emergency room; the University of Tampa and its nursing program; a new Tampa General rehabilitation center; USF?s training and simulation center, known as CAMLS; and the new USF medical school, still under construction. [Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital]
Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris wants to create a ?medical district,? working primarily with the University of South Florida. Clockwise from left, the district would include the hospital; a new free-standing emergency room; the University of Tampa and its nursing program; a new Tampa General rehabilitation center; USF?s training and simulation center, known as CAMLS; and the new USF medical school, still under construction. [Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital]
Published Jun. 6, 2019

Tampa General Hospital is expanding its reach by strengthening its partnership with the University of South Florida and launching a new line of urgent care clinics.

During a USF board of trustees meeting Thursday, the hospital's CEO, John Couris, said he wants to help create a "medical district" in and around downtown Tampa with the help of USF Health and its Morsani College of Medicine.

In addition to Tampa General committing to a $20 million lease of 25,000 square feet of space inside the medical school's new building downtown, Couris and USF medical school dean Dr. Charles Lockwood want to create a more seamless process for patients being treated by USF or Tampa General physicians.

The new joint venture would create a "management services organization" that would streamline services, from medical records to scheduling patients between appointments at USF, Tampa General and private practice physicians with privileges at both places.

"Fifty percent of our admissions come from private practice partners," Couris said. "With this venture, we'll be able to provide administrative services to those physicians and create a more integrated system for patients."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: New CEO aims to expand Tampa General Hospital's reach

The goal is to create one health care system that can be expanded in the future to include others, like Sarasota Memorial Hospital or health care offices in Lakeland, Couris said. He described the venture as based on "inclusiveness."

"The goal isn't to make the hospital bigger," he said. "It's to collaborate with more doctors and hospitals to improve quality and lower costs for patients. We don't have to employ everybody for that to happen, but there needs to be a nucleus."

For example, Couris said that even though Tampa General and USF Health partner in many ways already, they each operate their own appointment scheduling programs, which slows down the process for patients. This new venture would change that.

Couris and Lockwood will appear again before USF's trustees in August to seek final approval.

As for the medical district, Couris said connecting the dots between health care specialties and partners across the region would help draw more doctors and researchers to Tampa Bay.

"Most great cities have medical districts, which are concentrations of health services and research, which attract great scientists," he said. As examples, he cited Houston, Dallas and Boston — cities with academic and private partnerships to create research hubs and health care options for patients.

Tampa General's presence in the new medical schooling building — which, when completed, will include an urgent care clinic, cardiovascular clinical space and other medical offices — is a piece of that.

The hospital is also opening a 200-bed acute care rehabilitation center near its campus, across the street from the Oxford Exchange. It would connect to a future freestanding emergency department in Tampa, the University of Tampa's nursing program, the new USF medical school, and USF's downtown medical training and simulation facility, known as CAMLS.

"We have all these pieces coming together that are beginning to take shape," Couris said. "That concentration will only bring more medical talent to Tampa Bay."

RELATED: The future of Tampa Bay hospital care looks a lot like Apple and Amazon

In addition, Tampa General announced Thursday that it is joining with Fast Track Urgent Care to operate 10 urgent care clinics in Tampa Bay, including two in Pinellas County. The 50-50 partnership marks the first time Tampa General has offered freestanding clinical care in Pinellas.

Fast Track operates eight clinics in the region, including in Seminole and St. Petersburg. Tampa General operates two urgent care clinics in Hillsborough County, but the new partnership will fold them all into one network known as "TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track."

Couris said he hopes to expand to 15 to 20 centers in the next three-to-five years.

"I like the idea of partnering with someone who is already in this line of work and doing a great job," he said. "We don't have to reinvent the wheel."

Fast Track was the first organization in the Tampa Bay area to be certified by the Urgent Care Association of America. Dr. Daron G. Diecidue, the founder and CEO of Fast Track Urgent Care, will continue to lead the business.

Overall, Tampa General's health system includes 15 medical group locations, 14 imaging centers in partnership with Tower Radiology, the Brandon Healthplex, and the TGH Advanced Organ Disease and Transplantation Institute at Lee Health in Fort Myers.

Couris said the hospital also plans to build a stronger presence in neighboring Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Manatee counties.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. This Feb. 6, 2015, file photo shows a Measles, Mumps and Rubella, M-M-R vaccine on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. A study released this week has found that a 2016 California law intended to improve childhood vaccination rates had the greatest effect on high-risk areas where the rates were the lowest. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) [ERIC RISBERG  |  AP]
    The case involves a man who recently traveled to South America.
  2. To accommodate the swelling numbers of aging baby boomers, experts say we will need to make transportation more readily available, build more affordable housing, modify homes and apartments to help seniors age in place, and create programs to bring young and old people together. [Times (2011)]
    “There’s never been a time like this,” one expert says. Solutions include more health aides, taming long-term care costs and just healthier living.
  3. Joseph Hernandez Hall is home to the University of Florida's chemistry department, where a faculty member recently resigned after officials discovered he failed to disclose his strong ties to China. While at UF, the faculty member also held positions at two Chinese universities, including vice president and dean. The faculty member was not named in a report obtained Tuesday from the Florida Legislature. [University of Florida]
    They also collected grant money from the U.S. government while never disclosing their outside work in China.
  4. Margaret Pruitt, today’s exercise model, is a real wonder woman.
  5. Travelers wear face masks as they sit in a waiting room at the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, authorities said Tuesday, as more places stepped up medical screening of travelers from the country as it enters its busiest travel period. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) [MARK SCHIEFELBEIN  |  AP]
    The possibility the virus can be transmitted between people increases the chances it could spread faster and more widely.
  6. A new report to the Florida Legislature details the investigation that led to the forced resignations of six Moffitt Cancer Center employees in December, including president and CEO Dr. Alan List. [Moffitt Cancer Center]
    The money came from the “Thousand Talents Program” and went to personal accounts set up in China.
  7. The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. (Times | 2014)
    The chief justice dropped an ‘Okay, Boomer’ reference during oral arguments in the case of a pharmacist who accused the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System of age discrimination.
  8. Six of the 11 Pinellas County Head Start preschool centers found to have mold problems earlier this month are still closed. A few more could reopen next week, but some could be closed longer. [Google Maps]
    Five of the 11 affected locations have reopened, but hundreds of children can’t go back to their preschool yet.
  9. University of South Florida student Daniella Morales, center, gets information from health insurance navigators Lauren Lambert, left, and Dorothea Polk, right, during an event in November at USF in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The state’s decision not to expand Medicaid is one reason for the big number. Still, about 2.7 million people are uninsured.
  10. Century Tower rises at the center of the University of Florida campus, where four medical school researchers recently were found to have had foreign interactions that violated university rules. [University of Florida]
    In a scenario similar to last month’s revelations about Moffitt Cancer Center, four UF faculty members were found to have ties with foreign recruitment programs.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement