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DeSantis approves $80M for UF Jacksonville trauma center

DeSantis UF Health Jax
Raymon Troncoso
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Ron DeSantis visits UF Health Jacksonville to announce $80 million for a new trauma center named after the hospital system's late CEO, Leon Haley Jr., while joined by Hayley's family.

The UF Health Jacksonville hospital system will receive $80 million as part of the state's 2022-2023 budget to construct and launch a new trauma center in the next four years.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he was approving the allocation from the Legislature during a stop in Jacksonville on Monday, alongside the Florida surgeon general and family members of the project's namesake, former UF Health Jacksonville CEO Dr. Leon Haley.

Haley passed away last year in a water vehicle accident.

The Leon Haley Jr. MD Trauma Center will be an update to the 40-year-old trauma center currently used by the hospital.

Hospital administrators and local state legislators characterized the clinic as outdated, overcrowded and in dire need of renovations.

The necessity of a new trauma center was based on the outsized influence the current building has on the region. It acts as the only safety net hospital in the First Coast, serving all patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. It is the only Level 1 trauma center from Gainesville to Savannah, Georgia, a designation referring to the most comprehensive trauma care available for those critically injured.

About 125,000 patients from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia go through the trauma center annually.

"This will not only benefit the Jacksonville community, but also the surrounding communities who need access to top emergency care," DeSantis said, flanked by the Haley family. "It's fitting that we're able to use this facility to honor Dr. Haley's legacy."