UF Health Jacksonville: $120 million infrastructure plan is true “partnership”

Jacksonville, FL — UF Health Jacksonville says a lot of their systems are past their usable lives, so they’re hoping a six year-$120 million infrastructure plan proposed by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry will be sealed by the Jacksonville City Council in the coming weeks.

WOKV first told you last week that Curry's $1.2 billion budget presentation included the funding for UF Health Jacksonville. We're now digging deeper in to what would be involved.

UF Health Jacksonville President and CEO Dr. Leon Haley Jr. says their hospital building and ambulatory care building are both around 40 years old, and both owned by the City.

“Over time, like many other buildings or many other industries, they begin to age, and infrastructure needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, historically over time, our organization- which has struggled with its finances- has deferred some of that maintenance,” Haley says.

He says there are no problems that currently affect day-to-day operations, but some systems like electrical and parts of the roof are past their useable lives. With that comes the uncertainty of how long they will last.

“What you don’t want to do, though, is have a system break or fail, so that’s really what we’re trying to prevent,” Haley says.

Those projects are some of what he says they’re hoping to get accomplished in the first year of this plan. Haley realizes the overall price tag for the proposal is high, but he says the organization would continue to pay in to equipment and maintenance as well. Above all, he believes it’s important to have a partnership.

“The help the City is investing in us, we invest back in the City- providing those resources and needed services. And we believe that, working together, we can have a great health system in Jacksonville,” he says.

Haley notes that UF Health Jacksonville is a Level I trauma center, and also serves indigent and vulnerable patients in Northeast Florida. They also serve as an academic center, with hundreds of residents as well as a College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy.

He says they ultimately have a long list of wants, including upgrading operating rooms, redoing the Emergency Department, and potentially adding new buildings, but the focus of this package is what’s truly needed.

“We try to really stick to the basics to help work with the City,” he says.

They are looking for an upgraded MRI in some of the later years. Beyond that, he says they would try to find new partnerships with the City or industry to support future growth plans.

The Mayor’s proposed Capital Improvements Program shows this $120 million would be funded through borrowing and debt. The first year allocation is pitched as $15 million, with $20 million each of the following four years, and $25 million the final year.

WOKV has requested further details of the capital needs, but those have not yet been received. The City Council Finance Committee will review this proposal as part of their overall review of Curry’s proposed Capital Improvements Plan and City Budget in the coming weeks. The final budget must be passed before the start of the new fiscal year, on October 1st.

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