The findings dovetail with the longstanding mission of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation to create a nationally prominent children's hospital and with the commitment outlined in the UF&Shands strategic plan to open the Shands Hospital for Children and Women on the campus of Shands at UF.
The analysis identified opportunities to expand patient-centric pediatric health and wellness services by capitalizing on existing strengths and committing necessary resources amid a rising call for enhanced pediatric services in the area. Investments at UF and Shands will focus on meeting the specific needs of pediatric patients, their families and the community; adopting a more patient- and family-centered integrated care model; and growing the ranks of pediatric specialists and other pediatric health-care providers.
"We're pleased the independent analysis is consistent with the plans we've developed as part of a much broader strategic process focused on achieving the highest level of quality care and safety for all our patients, as well as training the next generation of health-care professionals and sparking important new discoveries to improve health," said Dr. David S. Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System. "To realize these interwoven goals for pediatric and women's health care, our strategic plan includes construction of the Shands Hospital for Children and Women."
UF, Shands HealthCare and the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation are committed to ensuring the hospital becomes the leading provider of pediatric health and wellness services in the state of Florida and a national leader in pediatric research, innovation and education. The findings of the independent health-care information services firm that led the analysis, Sg2, focused on patient care quality, building on existing faculty expertise and aligning clinical facilities with clinical programs -- areas of emphasis also identified through a UF&Shands strategic planning process that began in August 2009 and led to a report released this past May. The report is available at http://forwardtogether.health.ufl.edu/.
UF and Shands aim to spend approximately $100 million over the next five years to create the Shands Hospital for Children and Women, subject to final board approval and completion of a fundraising feasibility study that supports this direction.
The plan currently consists of a 175-bed four-story hospital to be built in phases by reconfiguring existing space at Shands at UF. It will feature a family-friendly environment -- including a new dedicated hospital entrance and a new lobby, pediatric emergency department and inpatient and outpatient units -- that will serve as the clinical home for a broad-based program for children and women.
"This study confirms our mission and the validity of our vigilant advocacy for transformative change, as it reveals the opportunity and necessity for major changes and investment in growth," said Horst Ferrero, co-founder with his wife, Luisa, of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation. "We're thrilled with the final results and are encouraged that the UF&Shands strategic plan includes a focus on working toward more integrated children's services with the possibility of housing a children's hospital in a new tower, depending on the level of philanthropy."
The first step will be the pediatric emergency room, which will be situated in the former Shands at UF emergency department and will factor in the special needs of children. The commitment to complete -- by next summer -- a dedicated pediatric ER is an important milestone for the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation and its supporters. "Throughout this journey I have heard from the community and personally experienced how critical a pediatric ER is needed…it brings me joy to be part of making this a reality," said Luisa Ferrero.
Guzick said, "We are pleased that this assessment is consistent with that of our own analysis and look forward to working with the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation in the months ahead as we launch our plans, which include a focus on improved quality and safety across all our efforts throughout the academic health center."
A fundraising campaign to support various phases will soon be implemented, Guzick said, and will include continuing to work closely with the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation. The Foundation's ongoing activities, including its annual signature fundraiser, Noche de Gala -- scheduled for Oct. 23 -- will play an important part in the effort. The new pediatric emergency room, the first phase of the Shands Hospital for Children and Women, will be the central beneficiary of this year's fundraiser.