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Partnership Kicks Off Hospital Construction in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Tue January 24, 2023 - Southeast Edition
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare

The St. Joe Company, Florida State University (FSU), and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare celebrated the construction kickoff Jan. 17 of a health care campus in Panama City Beach that will bring together clinicians, researchers, and students to meet the rapidly increasing need for medical care in the Florida Panhandle.

The proposed FSU Health-Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Medical (TMH) campus is being built on an 87-acre parcel of land designed to include an 80,000-sq.-ft. medical office building slated to be complete in 2024. This building will house TMH Physician Partners — Primary Care, Tallahassee Memorial Urgent Care Center, an ambulatory surgery center, as well as cardiology and orthopedic services.

Other plans include a 100-bed hospital with an emergency center and other inpatient services, including surgery, cardiology procedures, and imaging, to be complete by the end of 2027.

With modern facilities in the beach town, FSU researchers should have a better opportunity to focus on aging and digital health. The campus will allow for more residency programs and clinical rotations for FSU medical students as well.

"Today's construction kickoff comes at a pivotal time for TMH as we celebrate our 75th anniversary this year," said Mark O'Bryant, president, and CEO of TMH, which serves a 21-county area in North Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

"We have grown from a small, city-owned hospital into a comprehensive health care system. As the population in our region increases, TMH has identified a substantial need to expand health care services. We've built a reputation for excellent, compassionate and local care, and we are proud to now offer our services to the Panama City Beach communities."

Over the past several years, FSU has been growing its health research portfolio while also pursuing partnerships with major health care systems such as TMH. In the process, it has increased opportunities for students through its College of Medicine, by opening a physician assistant training program, and is welcoming the first cohort of its new doctoral program in nursing at the College of Nursing this fall.

Joining O'Bryant at the groundbreaking event were FSU President Richard McCollough; U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla.; Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon; TMH Vice President and Chief Health Operations Officer Andrew Starr; in addition to other local officials from the Bay County area.

"FSU has long enjoyed being a part of this community through our Panama City Campus," said McCullough. "Now, we're looking forward to expanding our presence and continuing to serve the residents here through this health care initiative. Research universities can play an important role in a vibrant health care delivery system, and FSU looks forward to playing that role right here in Bay County. This area is experiencing an incredible boom in population and the possibilities — and needs — have never been greater."

The university also plans to break ground on the FSU Health Tallahassee Center on the TMH campus later this year with the support of a $125 million appropriation from the Florida Legislature.

Construction on the new FSU Health-TMH campus project has generated considerable interest in the Panhandle and throughout the state.

Estimates show that Florida will have a shortfall of 4,700 primary care physicians by 2030, and 60,000 nurses by 2035. At the same time, the state is growing; in 2022, Florida was the fastest growing state in the nation with a population rate increase of 1.9 percent.

"Because we are a nonprofit, community-based health care system, we recognize that TMH is a community asset that drives the health of our region's residents," Starr said. "As we grow, we remain dedicated to the sacred trust given to us by our patients to care for them when they need it most. This is why we are developing strategic partnerships throughout the region and investing in the most advanced lifesaving technology. We are building the best-in-class health care system our region deserves."

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn; TMH President and CEO Mark O'Bryant; FSU President Richard McCullough; President and CEO of The St. Joe Company Jorge Gonzalez; Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon; and TMH Vice President and Chief Health Operations Officer Andrew Starr celebrate the construction kickoff of a new health care campus in Panama City Beach Jan. 17, 2023. (Photo courtesy of St. Joe Company)

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