UF Health Family Medicine at Main opening expands primary care access in East Gainesville
By John Pastor
Offering a “personal medical home” for the whole family, UF Health leaders joined with Gainesville City Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls today to officially open UF Health Family Medicine at Main.
The new University of Florida Physicians practice represents approximately an $8 million investment into East Gainesville by UF Health and marks the relocation of services from Family Medicine at Fourth Avenue into a modern facility with additional patient space to provide for the primary medical care needs for area residents.
Family Medicine at Main will offer care for the whole family, including pregnant patients and children. The two-story, 24,200-square-foot facility at 1707 N. Main St. is 40 percent larger than the former Fourth Avenue practice and contains 25 exam rooms, two procedure rooms and designated rooms for group visits and counseling.
“We are fulfilling our commitment to create a model of family-centered primary care that promotes health and reduces the need for hospital admissions,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF Health System. “It is important for Gainesville residents to have a personal medical home where they can access comprehensive health care close to where they live and work, and we are honored that our faculty and staff can answer that need.”
A personal medical home is a health care setting that optimizes relationships between individual patients, personal physicians and, when appropriate, families. In this model, a personal physician leads a team of professionals who are responsible for the ongoing care of a patient. No matter their age, patients receive preventive, acute and chronic care, or they can be quickly connected to specialty care.
A study in 2004 in the Annals of Family Medicine estimated if every American used a primary care physician as their usual source of care, health care costs would likely decrease by 5.6 percent, resulting in national savings of $67 billion dollars per year, with an improvement in the overall quality of the health care.
“People need a point of first contact with the health system, someone they can rely upon who knows their medical history and who is willing to take care of them not just for today’s visit, but for next week’s visit and next year’s visit,” said Marvin Dewar, M.D., J.D., the senior associate dean, chief executive officer and chief medical officer of UF Physicians, the clinical practice arm of the UF College of Medicine. “Even better, this new facility and practice at UF Health Family Medicine at Main will offer a whole range of services beyond simply the physician visit. I think it is going to be an advantage to East Gainesville for years to come.”
UF Health invested approximately $8 million in construction, land, permitting, planning, furniture and equipment in the East Gainesville practice and involved local companies such as Trimark Properties, architect Skinner Vignola McLean Inc., contractor M.M. Parrish and civil engineers Causseaux, Hewett & Walpole Inc. Likewise, almost all of the subcontractors for plumbing, electrical and air conditioning work were also local.
Approximately 25,000 patient visits are expected the first year at Family Medicine at Main with projected capacity of more than 36,000 visits annually. It will be staffed by 10 UF College of Medicine physicians, 28 resident physicians, two sports medicine fellows, a faculty member from the College of Pharmacy, a licensed clinical social worker and a nurse midwife.
Central to the effort is the residency program at the College of Medicine’s department of community health and family medicine, which is responsible for training primary care physicians for the community, state and nation through the UF Family Medicine Residency Program.
“The odds are if you have a family doctor today in Gainesville, they trained in our program,” said R. Whit Curry Jr., M.D., chairman of the community health and family medicine department. “We have close to 250 family medicine graduates, and well over half of them continue to practice in the state of Florida and about 70 practice within Alachua County. We are excited that the new facility will allow us to optimally train more family physicians for Florida and our community, as well as provide a clinical site for educating a variety of health professional students.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians predicts a shortage of 40,000 family medicine physicians by 2020.
“When you look historically at the physician work force in the United States, you’ll see in the 1960s approximately half of the practicing physicians were general practitioners,” said Karen L. Hall, M.D., director of the UF Family Medicine Residency Program. “These days that has dropped to the 30 percent range, which is way too low for the needs of American public. We are working diligently to produce solid family physicians to fill that gap.”
Family Medicine at Main is one of six UF&Shands family medicine practices.
Along with adult and pediatric comprehensive care, Family Medicine at Main offers orthopedics and sports medicine, dermatology, podiatry, OB/GYN, prenatal care and ultrasound, pharmacy education, social services, lab tests, stress tests and X-rays. The team also performs minor surgical procedures such as flexible nasolaryngoscopy, colposcopy, skin biopsies and lesion removals.