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EDITORIAL

The St. Petersburg Times reported that a bill supporting the construction of a hospital on USF’s campus will be presented to state legislators next session.

The move is a critical step for USF as it seeks to improve its status as a research institution. The addition of an on-campus hospital will also strengthen the area’s community healthcare.

The positive aspects of a new hospital are clear. The Times reports that a new facility would allow USF to expand its residency program by an additional 30 to 100 positions and revive dormant medical programs. The expansion of the medical program would allow for more students and more-successful alumni. The income generated by the hospital and the tuition paid by the additional students would be welcome relief to a university that is facing dire financial constraints.

There are concerns about an on-campus hospital. USF residents work with All Children’s Hospital and Tampa General Hospital (TGH), and it is unknown how those hospitals might respond to USF’s desire to take a portion of medical residencies in its own hands.

Ron Hytoff, president and CEO of TGH, wrote in a statement to the Times that this bill and USF’s desire for a hospital were creating a new “wrinkle in an already complicated situation.”

Though the new hospital may alter the relationship between USF and TGH, it is hard to argue that the building of a new hospital in the Tampa Bay area is a negative thing.

The hospital would not pose any immediate threat to other institutions because it will not be as complete as those already established in the Bay area. The proposed hospital would add 200 beds to the community. In comparison, TGH reports in its fact sheet that it has 877 beds. Additionally, the state of Florida is in desperate need of doctors and a hospital at USF would help cultivate and recruit doctors.

Hospitals and those that manage them should remember the Hippocratic Oath that doctors are sworn to uphold. Those that truly have the health of patients in the Bay area as their priority should find no harm in adding more doctors and hospital beds.

Passing this bill is the first step to achieving many goals, from the increased stature of the school to the expansion of academic knowledge and a direct, positive impact on community health.