College of Medicine seeks own hospital

Since the University’s health program opened nearly 40 years ago, it has lacked its own hospital.

Leaders at USF’s College of Medicine now say they want to build a teaching hospital on campus to generate more revenue, increase the number of residents in health programs and improve overall health care in the area. The campus hospital could cost up to $2 million per bed, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

Florida Sen. Dennis Jones recently sponsored a bill that would exempt the University and other medical schools from the Certificate of Need program, or CON. According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, CON’s purpose is to prevent unneeded health services or costs.

If the bill passes, the University plans to build a 200-bed hospital, said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the College of Medicine.

Tampa General Hospital is the University’s primary teaching hospital. Residents and faculty also practice at All Children’s Hospital and the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Ron Hytoff, Tampa General’s president, declined to answer questions regarding a campus teaching hospital but issued a written statement.

“This has created a new wrinkle in an already complicated situation that we are in the process of evaluating,” he said. “Since USF is our strategic partner, we do not want to rush to judgment. We are carefully assessing the details of this bill and maintaining a dialogue with the University.”

Klasko said partnerships and residency programs with affiliated hospitals will remain strong.

University Community Hospital, across the street from the College of Medicine, is not owned by the University, despite its name.

Building an on-campus hospital could help the University meet national goals. In 2006, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) issued a press release recommending that U.S. medical schools boost enrollment by 30 percent by 2015.

“Given the extensive time it takes to educate and train tomorrow’s doctors, efforts to increase enrollment must get underway as soon as possible to ensure that the health care needs of the nation in 2015 and beyond are met,” Dr. Jordan Cohen, AAMC President, said.

Klasko said a hospital on campus would attract more residents to the University and generate enough revenue to support the new hospital without state funding.

The University has 605 residents in the College of Medicine. Klasko said he hopes the hospital will provide 30 to 100 more slots.

Last year, the University and BayCare Health System tried to build a 130-bed teaching hospital in Pasco County but the proposal was not approved by state regulators.