HA President Phil Walker welcomed The VHA members who attended the General Membership Meeting on December 9, 2020 and introduced the evening’s speaker, Mr. Ed Jimenez. Mr. Jimenez has served as Chief Executive Officer for University of Florida Health Shands since 2014. Prior to his current role, he was the Chief Operating Officer from 2010 to 2014.

Mr. Jimenez oversees the UF Health Shands campus in Gainesville, as well as the two Central Florida Hospitals; The Villages® and Leesburg Regional Hospitals. UF Health Shands Hospital routinely appears on the US News Best Hospitals lists. He also works closely with the University of Florida College of Medicine. He has served as the chair of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida; a board member of the Council of Teaching Hospital and Health Systems, part of the American Association of American Medical Colleges; and a board member of Vizient, an organization that includes some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. Past appointments include serving on the Transition Advisory Committee on Health and Wellness for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Prior to coming to Florida 10 years ago, Mr. Jimenez spent his career in New York and New Jersey. He went to college outside of Boston at Brandeis University, and went to Business School in New York City at Baruch College.

Mr. Jimenez explained the background of the January 2020 merger of Central Florida Health (The Villages and Leesburg Hospitals) into the UF Health Shands organization. It was driven by shared values, compatible goals, a quest for exceptional comprehensive healthcare for our communities, and career opportunities for employees. It also provided for additional opportunities with The Villages Developer to build a third hospital in the community.

Covid-19 put integration activities on hold in mid-March. When activities picked up, land was finalized where a third hospital could be built. Furthermore, the concept evolved into a larger plan to develop a medical city with a hospital and academic buildings for clinical research and physician training. Villages Health, the largest local provider of primary care, also plays an integral role.

While these are longer term goals, Mr. Jimenez stressed the importance of doing tactical things now to keep the ball moving forward on improving healthcare for the community.

  • The first area of focus is the Emergency Departments in the Hospitals. It is important to get feedback from patients and staff; Get the facts and fix the
  • A second area being assessed is the turnover rate of nurses. Shands’ turnover rate is 12% compared to the 23% average among the 180 national teaching hospitals. The higher turnover rate for nurses at The Villages hospital is under review to learn ways to build team commitment and pride of performance, thereby reducing the turnover
  • Finally, as an example of opportunities for professional growth, he cited the Gainesville Simulation Center that Villages area medical professionals can now use to learn and practice medical

Mr. Jimenez welcomes emails that identify specific incidents related to The Villages or Leesburg hospitals that indicate a need for improvement. Emails need to specify a date, time, location, and details in order to evaluate how better care may be provided. The goal each day at the hospitals is “Make Each Day Better – Striving to Improve.” You may contact Mr. Jimenez at edward.jimenez@

In closing, he reiterated his optimism, excitement and commitment for providing exceptional healthcare with these new relationships. “It’s my goal to make sure that our two hospitals can become the best they can be, compared to similar hospitals.”