Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday awarded the University of Florida Health Jacksonville $80 million in order to replace its current trauma center, which has been criticized for being outdated and overpopulated. The center will be named after the recently deceased Dr. Leon Haley, Jr.
The new trauma center will serve as the only level one trauma in northeast Florida; Presently, the closest level one trauma centers reside in Gainesville and Savannah, Georgia. The new facility will additionally provide upwards of 5,000 new jobs in the Jacksonville area.
“This is a big investment, but I think it’s a warranted investment,” said DeSantis. “This project will provide better access to emergency health services for the Jacksonville community as well as high-quality care. UF’s emergency department draws patients from across the area … and with the new trauma center, we can expect to see 125,000 a year. This level one trauma facility will not only benefit the Jacksonville community, but also the surrounding communities who need access to emergency care.”
Last year, UF Health Jacksonville was named as one of the best hospitals in America by Health Grades, received almost 700,000 ambulatory visits, had over 100,000 emergency room visits, and had more than 400,000 trauma treatments.
“Anyone who met Dr. Haley knew how much he cared about healthcare as well as taking care of equity. He was well-known as a bridge builder between rich, poor, black, white, Democrat, Republican,” said Russ Armistead, UF Health CEO. “And it is so fitting that the governor and a bipartisan group of legislators chose to fund and name this for him. His work for the community and political leaders is well known. Everyone here at UF cannot thank you enough.”
The UF Health Jacksonville Leon L. Haley, Jr. M.D. Trauma Center will be built on the medical center’s Eighth Street campus off Interstate 95 north of downtown. The hospital said in a statement it will be a “catalyst for downtown renewal and will benefit the community for decades to come,” the Florida-Times Union reports.
Of late, UF Health researchers helped to develop a device that provides a highly accurate, 30-second response COVID test.
The newly developed test is able to return a COVID test result as accurately and sensitively as a PCR test in 30 seconds. UF Health researchers are working with scientists at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.
The device, researchers said, could transform public health officials’ ability to quickly detect and respond to the coronavirus — or the next pandemic.UF has entered into a licensing agreement with a New Jersey company, Houndstoothe Analytics, in hopes of ultimately manufacturing and selling the device, not just to medical professionals but also to consumers, according to a news release from UF Health Communications.