University of South Florida

USF to create USF Health System to partner with hospitals

Partnership with Lakeland Regional Medical Center proposes to create 200 new residency positions for state

TAMPA, FL (Sept. 19, 2012) – USF Health is creating a new and transformative health system of physicians and hospitals aimed at designing the future of healthcare in the region.

The first step towards creating this new health system will begin with Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc., which will be asking approval from its Board of Directors later this month to become the inaugural member of what is to become the USF Health System.

Judy Genshaft, Elaine Thompson, Stephen Klasko, USF Health System, LRMC

L to R: USF President Judy Genshaft with Dr. Elaine Thompson, president and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc, and Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

The partnership proposes to create about 200 new residency slots in West Central Florida and make USF’s the largest residency program in the state. The state of Florida currently graduates more medical students than it has residency positions – effectively exporting new doctors because doctors tend to practice where they trained.

The partnership permits hospitals to align with the medical college to prepare for change in the health care system.

“Health care is in the middle of historic transformation,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, CEO of USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “We want to ensure that USF Health is driving that transformation rather than caught underneath it. By creating the USF Health System, we can create a future that includes top-quality patient care and greater economic stability for the entire region.”

Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc., includes Lakeland Regional Medical Center, an 851-bed, non-profit hospital with more than 4,500 employees with an active medical staff of 484 physicians.  With 186,000 patient days, 3,500 births, and 38,000 inpatient discharges, Lakeland Regional Medical Center is the fifth largest hospital in Florida.  It is home to the state’s largest single-site emergency department, with more than 165,000 visits this year.

Elaine Thompson, PhD, FACHE, president and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health Systems, Inc.,  was recently named to the Becker’s Hospital Review “100 Non-Profit Hospital, Health System CEOs to Know.”

“We appreciate our physicians and all of their excellent contributions over the years in delivering high-quality healthcare to our community.  Their dedication, along with the dedication and support of the Lakeland community, has sustained a long legacy of delivering exceptional health care,” Dr. Thompson said. “Today, we have the distinct opportunity of combining our strong, high-quality health care system with the leading-edge medical education and research of USF.  Quite simply, we are taking our excellent hospital and making it even better.”

Lakeland Regional Medical Center, exterior

During her September 19th State of the University address, USF President Judy Genshaft announced that the university will create the USF Health System, and plans to invite other hospitals and physician groups to join.

“We appreciate our current hospital partners, who support our missions of health care delivery, medical education, and research,” USF President Genshaft said. “We have spent a great deal of time formulating this system and expect to be ready to implement by March 31, 2013.”

Dr. Klasko said that with the nation’s health care delivery system on the brink of historic change, USF Health plans for the new structure to better respond to the changing competitive landscape in the healthcare market, as well as increasing the reach of academic medicine across West Central Florida. Health experts expect changing economic conditions to produce a wave of consolidations and new affiliations among the nation’s hospitals and physician groups. The new structure will allow USF Health, Lakeland Regional and other health institutions to maintain local control over Florida’s health future.

“As the new USF Health System forms, we are hopeful to find partners across the state who are committed to designing an optimistic future with us,” Dr. Klasko said.

-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities.

Media contact:
Lisa Greene, USF Health Communications, (813) 974-4312 or

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