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Board to hear, raise questions on University of Central Florida, HCA hospital partnership deal

Officials from Orlando-based University of Central Florida will meet with the state board of governors — which oversees state universities — to discuss its proposed construction of a 100-bed teaching hospital in partnership with the Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

University officials previously presented their plans to the board Jan. 25. State officials have expressed concern with some of the language used in the proposal, stating it is "not specific enough to prove that HCA is indeed planning on building a teaching hospital and not a community hospital," according to the report.

Local nonprofit health systems have also expressed similar concerns. Orlando Health said the proposal as written seems to indicate the organizations are working together to build a community hospital rather than an academic teaching facility — the proposed 100-bed hospital "is smaller in size than the average academic medical center nationally," Orlando Hospital officials said.

Orlando-based Florida Hospital have also expressed concern. Officials appealed the state's decision to grant the organizations a certificate of need to begin construction on the hospital. They also have reportedly asked the state to void the application if the board of governors does not approve the project, according to the report. In order for the organizations to begin construction, they need approval from both the state and the board of governors.

"As we approach this important meeting of [the] board of governors, I hope that the decision [will support] the missions of the medical school," said Deborah German, MD, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of UCF College of Medicine. "And at the same time, [I hope] our relationship with all of our hospitals will continue to thrive and grow."

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