Writer: Liz Palmer
2 min read May 2022 — As the Jacksonville region continues to grow, healthcare leaders are working to provide the necessary infrastructure to keep communities healthy. Healthcare providers such as Life Tree Women Care, UF Health Jacksonville, Florida Blue and Wolfson Children’s Hospital are committed to expanding care to accommodate all residents and visitors of Northeast Florida.
Life Tree Women Care
Northeast Florida’s first Black-owned women’s health center, Life Tree Women Care, opened two weeks ago to address the healthcare gap for women on the western side of Jacksonville. Operated by couple Jamie Neal and Derek Neal, the clinic already has the community’s support and is taking strides to make healthcare more accessible. “Too many women on the Westside lack access to effective and affordable care,” said Jamie Neal in a statement. “We want to change that while prioritizing healthcare services for all women with both quality and cultural competence.”
UF Health Jacksonville
UF Health Jacksonville is bringing a successful hybrid model from Texas to healthcare in Northeast Florida, with new emergency and urgent care facilities to be completed later this year. In partnership with Texas-based Intuitive Health, two options of care will be under one roof, emergency care and urgent care. “If an individual doesn’t need emergency care, they are provided urgent care and end up with a much lower bill. That model has been very successful in Texas and I believe it will be successful in Jacksonville,” CEO of UF Health Jacksonville Russell Armistead told Invest:.
In addition to the new centers, the hospital will also be revitalizing its trauma center after a decision made by Gov. Ron DeSantis to donate $80 million of the state’s budget following the passing of former CEO Dr. Leon Haley. The closest neighboring Level 1 trauma centers are in Gainesville and Savannah, making UF Health Jacksonville’s trauma center the only one in the region.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s philanthropic arm has been consistently busy investing in the future of quality care in Northeast Florida, most recently through a $3.7 million donation toward UF Health’s Urban Health Alliance initiative. Florida Blue’s donation will assist in funding a Center for Health Equity and Justice which will directly impact underserved communities lacking access to adequate healthcare across Florida.
Florida Blue also recently became a partner in Civica’s initiative to manufacture and distribute affordable insulins, expected to be available in 2024. This push for insulin to be no more than $30 per vial by 2024 would be a huge benefit to individuals currently paying hundreds of dollars in some cases. “At heart, we are a Florida company and plan to be front and center for the region in making healthcare more equitable for every customer.” said Market President of North Florida for Florida Blue Darnell Smith with Invest:.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital
Wolfson Children’s Hospital has been in a constant state of expansion in recent years. The Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower opened last month. The Terry Heart Institute has seen substantial expansions and renovations in the past year between opening a new location last July at Baptist Medical Center South and a major renovation on the second floor of the 841 Building on Wolfson Children’s downtown Jacksonville campus to create a new collaborative environment for different types of cardiovascular specialists. In addition, a chemo and infusion center at Nemours Children’s Health is scheduled for completion next year. President of Wolfson Children’s Hospital Michael Aubin told Invest: that the center “. . . will provide one place for pediatric cancer patients to get chemotherapy, blood-related transfusions and other services in an outpatient setting.”
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