UF Health in Jacksonville is poised to get $80 million to replace its outdated trauma center, with the project making the list of supplemental projects released by the Senate Wednesday.
The Senate will allocate $25 million from its supplemental project “sprinkle list,” with another $55 million coming from the Health Care Appropriations silo for the Leon Haley Jr. Trauma Center. The new facility will be named after the former head of the hospital who passed away while on a family vacation last year.
Those numbers are well above the asks from Jacksonville lawmakers in the budget process. Sen. Audrey Gibson requested $12 million on the Senate side, while Rep. Wyman Duggan asked for $8 million.
A bipartisan effort saw the allocation grow in recent days and weeks, offering a boost to one of the most cash-strapped safety-net hospitals in the state.
The need was acute, as the appropriations request form noted: “Replacing an outdated and overcrowded Emergency Department Trauma Center with a state of the art facility to serve the needs of the citizens of Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns, Baker and surrounding counties.”
One key issue is patient safety itself. The hospital, located on 8th Street near Downtown Jacksonville, handles Duval County Jail inmates.
“Increasing capacity of the Emergency Department would permit the separation of violent and non-violent patients,” read the request.
Both The House and Senate get millions in tax revenue to play with near the end of budget negotiations. That money is spread across different projects in what’s known in legislative parlance as the “sprinkle list.”
The release of the list Wednesday night is a sign budget negotiations are wrapped and that the Legislature will hit its new planned end date of Monday, March 14.
UF Health is the only safety-net hospital in Northeast Florida, and the rebuild will serve a number of populations. Normal emergency department patients and trauma patients will see improved service. Additionally, the hospital hopes that the new construction will help them handle Baker Act cases.
“Improved facilities will help mitigate boarding (holding) times while awaiting psychiatric bed availability,” asserted the appropriations request.
UF Health offered a statement of appreciation for the collective effort, lauding the Duval Delegation for helping deliver the appropriation.
“UF Health Jacksonville, Northeast Florida’s only Level One 1 Trauma Center, is in dire need of a physical plant replacement. At almost 40 years old, this city-owned facility is past due for an overhaul to keep pace with new technology and contemporary medicine,” the statement read in part.
The statement also recognized Dr. Haley, for whom the new facility will be named.
“He was committed to serving the growing Northeast Florida population and leading future advancements in health care and trauma services at 8th Street. The first African- American to hold the position of CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, Dr. Haley was beloved by the entire Jacksonville community for his leadership as an educator, emergency room physician and community leader, and is sorely missed. Dr. Haley was well-known as a bridge builder between rich and poor, black and white, and Democrats and Republicans, so it is only fitting that a bipartisan group of
legislators chose to fund and name this new facility in his memory.”
Senators Aaron Bean, Audrey Gibson and Travis Hutson and Reps. Cord Byrd, Tracie Davis, Wyman Duggan, Jason Fischer, Angie Nixon, and Clay Yarborough all played a part in delivering.
The lobbyist on record for this project: Joe Mobley of The Fiorentino Group.