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An aerial shot of Orlando Health's downtown campus on Nov. 23, 2015 from 600 feet altitude.
An aerial shot of Orlando Health's downtown campus on Nov. 23, 2015 from 600 feet altitude. (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando Health is planning to buy 80 acres of unincorporated land in Polk County, south of Polk Parkway and to the east of Lakeland Highlands Road, to potentially build a medical campus in the future.

The long-term, phased plan would include a hospital with up to 360 beds along with medical office space, a small hotel and limited retail, all of which will be based on the growth and needs of the community, officials said.

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“Our planning is in the very early stages," said Matt Taylor, Orlando Health’s vice president of asset strategy, in a news release. “We intend to take our time and be very thoughtful. We will become involved in the community at different levels, including community meetings, civic groups and a public website."

The health system is conducting research, including a traffic study, and seeking community input “to ensure the eventual Orlando Health Lakeland campus meets the needs of Lakeland and nearby communities in Polk County,” according to a news release.

The move will expand the health system’s reach into a new county, where its main competitor AdventHealth established itself last year by purchasing the 193-bed Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Davenport and the 160-bed Lake Wales Medical Center in Lake Wales from the for-profit Community Health System.

“Serving Polk County has been a part of our long-term grown plan for years,” said Taylor. “And with the area’s continuing growth, the need for the high-quality, outcomes-based approach of Orlando Health is clear.”

Now that the state’s Certificate of Need process has been repealed, Orlando Health can build a hospital without having to wait for permission from the state.

The health system also purchased a two-story, 7,100-square-foot building at 45 Pennsylvania St. in downtown Orlando this month to redevelop it as a comprehensive pediatric care center complex.

In brief...

Orlando Health Network, the health system’s Accountable Care Organization, produced more than $33 million in savings in 2018 in the federal Medicare Shared Savings Program. The network launched in 2013 as the first hospital-led ACO in Florida. Since then, the network has established partnerships with Cigna, Florida Blue, United Healthcare and Aetna. Orlando Health officials estimate that the ACO has saved more than $123 million since inception through arrangements with payers and providers.

UF Health The Villages Hospital, formerly known as The Villages Regional Hospital, is opening a new 25,000-square-foot freestanding emergency room in Wildwood in February. The facility has 16 beds, including two trauma bays, and has space to add eight more beds in the future. The Villages Regional Hospital and Leesburg Regional Medical Center were acquired by University of Florida Health in January.

AdventHealth Waterman has opened a two-story, 22,000-square-foot facility in Mount Dora. AdventHealth Medical Group family physicians will occupy the first floor. The second floor will open by the end of the year and will house AdventHealth Medical Group specialists and pediatricians. The facility has 21 exam rooms.

The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, which includes the Orlando VA Healthcare System, has launched a 24/7 virtual urgent care contact center that’s available to veterans via telephone or video. Veterans can get immediate urgent care by called 877-741-3400. The center launched in July and has received more than 100,000 calls from veterans in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the VA.

WeCare tlc, a Lake Mary-based workplace healthcare company has promoted Raegan Le Douaron to president. She has been leading business development for the company. Judy Garber is the former company president and the new co-CEO. WeCare tlc manages 54 on-site health centers for companies around the country.

Family Physicians Group, a Central Florida’s provider for Medicare Advantage and Managed Medicaid HMO patients has named Cheri Greenfield La-Tour as market president. The practice has 24-senior-focused primary care centers in Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

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