USF Health expands to Davis Island

At USF Health’s new clinic, patients can see their physicians, pick up their X-rays and purchase their prescriptions – all with a friendly hello and goodbye at the door.

The South Tampa Center (STC), which opened Aug. 27 on Davis Island, brings the convenience of a variety of services and the luxury of customer service into the field.

With its valet parking, one-stop shopping concept and paperless record system, officials at USF Health say they are moving the healthcare system forward.

“The building is structurally complete – we’re just tweaking the internal operations,” said Dr. William Marshall, associate dean for clinical affairs and medical director for the USF practice group.

The STC is located on the Tampa General Hospital (TGH) campus and was developed in partnership with TGH, the primary teaching hospital for USF’s College of Medicine.

The center is a 126,000-square foot, seven-story building, featuring 187 faculty offices and space for 94 exam rooms, and can handle between 1,200 and 1,500 patients.

What makes the STC unique is its one-stop shopping concept. This includes being able to see physicians of different disciplines in the same day.

“Our goal is to have all our services under one roof. Right now our healthcare system is pretty fragmented,” said Rick Green, Chief Operating Officer of the Centers for Advanced Healthcare and Executive Director of the USF Physicians Group. “The idea now is that a patient could come to one location, maybe spend four hours, and get everything done at that particular point in time, (so they) don’t have to take the extra days off work.”

Not all procedures and laboratory testing will be available the same day as a patient’s original appointment – either because some tests require more time or because some procedures require insurance carriers’ approval. All X-ray imaging, though, should be available the same day.

“The major goal for this building is to have an effective, collaborative, interdisciplinary practice of physicians that is patient-focused,” said Marshall.

Patients can e-mail questions to their doctors, request or schedule appointments and prescriptions online courtesy of the $15 million electronic medical record system, which minimizes the amount of paperwork a patient fills out.

After patients check in, they are given a pager similar to those given to patrons at busy restaurants. When the pager goes off, a nurse leads the patient to the examination room.

Sophia Stoney’s daughter Nevaeh is a frequent patient on the pediatric floor.

Stoney, who lives in Tampa, had high praises for the new center.

“If you need them, they’ll tell you to come right in,” said Stoney, “It’s our second home away from home.”

The STC also serves as a home for medical training.

Originally designed for USF Health faculty, staff and students from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, the STC replaced most of the outpatient clinics of Harborside Medical Tower on Davis Island.

“This is basically a full-learning facility,” Green said, “We are putting forth the best environment in which to treat patients, and therefore that is the best environment in which to educate our medical students and residents.”

The STC cost $33 million, which came from a multi-million dollar bond taken out by the USF Physician’s Group. The money includes funding from Tampa General Hospital, state grants and community support.

The first floor houses the imaging center and the SweetBay pharmacy. The fifth floor houses conference rooms and will be the patient education center, which will be networked so that patients can search the Internet.

Every other level has clinical care offices in various disciplines, including OB-GYN, pediatrics and neurosurgery.

The STC is one of two new Advanced Healthcare Facilities affiliated with USF. The other, the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare, will open on the Tampa campus in 2008.

Emma Sylvester can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or