Tony Simmons

Florida State University and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare formalized their long-term partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will create a governance structure for a new medical campus in Panama City Beach and an academic health center in Tallahassee. 

The MOU is intended to create a new not-for-profit corporation to jointly oversee major strategic, research and clinical education decisions for the two organizations. This structure will help transform the future of health care in the region through scientific progress, programmatic expansion and technological innovation. 

“Since arriving at Florida State University, my leadership team and I have been working diligently to lay the groundwork for FSU Health, a bold initiative that promises to transform the health care ecosystem in North Florida,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “The MOU is an important step in solidifying our relationship with TMH and establishing the basic operating and governance structure for our partnership as part of the FSU Health initiative.” 

FSU is also contributing to TMH’s partnership with The St. Joe Company to establish FSU Health in Panama City Beach. This campus will open in July 2024 with a medical office building housing physician partner groups, an Urgent Care Center, an ambulatory surgery center, as well as cardiology and orthopedic services. 

Future plans for the Panama City Beach facility include an initial 100-bed hospital with an emergency center and other inpatient services including surgery, cardiology procedures and imaging, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2027. The campus is planned to eventually support a 600-bed facility, supported by approximately 380,000 square feet of medical office space.   

By combining TMH’s patient care with FSU’s medical and health education programs and its research capabilities, FSU and TMH will further their longstanding goal of expanding health care in the region. 

“TMH has been working toward this goal of partnering with FSU to create an academic health center for almost 15 years,” said TMH President & CEO Mark O’Bryant. “This is a monumental step forward in our relationship, and I’m incredibly excited and proud of the work our teams have done.” 

Research and clinical education are at the core of this agreement, with both parties recognizing the importance they each hold in enhancing the prestige needed to attract significant state and federal funding, as well as the reputation to recruit world renowned scientists and researchers. 

Partnerships between TMH and FSU are not new, as both organizations have historically shared the common goal of moving healthcare innovation forward. The two organizations have partnered in the past to bring residency programs to the community including Internal Medicine, General Surgery and Psychiatry. 

A new opportunity presented itself in 2022 when the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis awarded FSU $125 million to build an academic health center in Tallahassee. Conceptual design of this state-of-the-art facility is in its final stages and the site on the TMH campus is being cleared so that construction can begin. 

This work is critical as North Florida faces significant shortages of health care professionals but also rapid population growth. The development of FSU Health will boost the quality and availability of innovative care for North Florida and beyond.