Today, during her State of the University address, USF President Judy Genshaft announced that the university plans to create USF Health System, and looks to Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. to join as its inaugural member.
“The City of Lakeland has enjoyed a long history of having a community of high-quality physicians alongside its excellent hospital, Lakeland Regional Medical Center,” said Mayor Fields. “We should celebrate the opportunity to continue building upon this history of excellence by adding nationally recognized research and education alongside our exceptional community-based health care delivery system.”
Lakeland Regional Medical Center, with its 4,500 employees, and its active medical staff of 484 physicians, is the fifth largest hospital in Florida and operates the busiest single site Emergency Department in the entire State. Elaine Thompson, PhD, FACHE, President and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, echoed Mayor Fields’ remarks adding, “Mayor Fields has been exceptionally supportive and insightful about the future of the region’s health care. He understands the significance of creating USF Health System, and the economic potential it brings to the City of Lakeland and our community.”
Later this month, Dr. Thompson will seek approval from the Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. Board of Directors to formally join USF Health System. “Joining USF Health System creates a relationship for the good of the organization, our medical staff, and the community we serve,” said Bill Mutz, Chairman of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. “We expect the USF Health System to be a transformational and innovative partnership that will grow to include other hospitals and physicians across the region.”
During the next several months, Dr. Thompson will be executing an extensive communication plan to share these future plans with the community. “We recognize that our health care delivery system is on the brink of historic change, and we are already seeing a wave of consolidations and new affiliations across the Tampa Bay and Central Florida region,” said Mayor Fields. “By joining USF Health System, Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc. will continue to strengthen and grow even better, but more importantly, the hospital will remain an asset of the City and it will continue to be led by a local Board of Directors made up of our own community leaders.”