State Law Names TGH Behavioral Health Hospital One of First Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals in Florida

TGH Behavioral Health Hospital to expand access to world-class care and strengthen health care workforce to meet growing demand.

TAMPA, Fla., May 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and University of South Florida (USF) celebrated today a new state law that names the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital one of the first four behavioral health teaching hospitals in the state of Florida and creates the Florida Center for Behavioral Health Workforce within the University of South Florida's Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI).

Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, Senator Jim Boyd, who championed the legislation, and Senator Darryl Rouson, who co-sponsored the legislation, joined John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General; Rhea Law, president of USF; Tampa Mayor Jane Castor; Dr. Charles Lockwood, executive vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; Dr. Ryan Wagoner, chair, USF Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; Marty Mann, chief development officer, Lifepoint Health; and Kathy Bolmer, chief operating officer, Lifepoint Health; on Monday at the site where the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital is presently under construction. There, they signed their names to a beam that will support the new structure. The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as one of the first and only freestanding academic medical behavioral health hospitals in Florida.

"Tampa General is working to transform health care through innovation. Across the nation, there is limited access to behavioral health services and a workforce shortage unable to support the growing need. We turned to our partners at the University of South Florida and in the state Legislature, to address the issue and craft a meaningful solution that not only benefits the patients we treat at Tampa General, but every community across the state of Florida," said Couris. "Now, with Senate Bill 330 signed into law, the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital is one of the state's first behavioral health teaching hospitals, where patients needing behavioral health services will have access to academic-based, world-class care. Additionally, medical students and residents will benefit from critical learning alongside Tampa General's best-in-class providers, extending the reach of our care as they advance their careers in behavioral health."

"As one of the nation's leading research universities, the University of South Florida plays a pivotal role in addressing critical challenges facing the Tampa Bay area, the state of Florida and our society," said President Law. "USF is uniquely positioned to help with the growing demand for behavioral health services, and alongside our partners at Tampa General Hospital, we are committed to identifying bold solutions that ensure a better future for our communities. We sincerely appreciate our state leaders for their continued support of our university and initiatives that benefit our region."

The Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 330, sponsored by Senators Boyd and Rouson in the Senate and Representative Sam Garrison in the House, during the 2024 legislative session to create a behavioral health teaching hospital designation in state statute. The bill, signed by the Governor into law, names Tampa General, in partnership with USF Health, as the first of just four behavioral health teaching hospitals in the state.

"I would like to congratulate Tampa General Hospital for being designated as one of the first freestanding behavioral health teaching hospitals in the state," said Speaker Renner. "Thank you, President Passidomo, Representative Garrison and Senator Boyd, for your leadership in providing this opportunity to train and retain medical professionals to help those with mental health and substance abuse issues. Floridians will benefit from the care, research and learning provided by our new behavioral health teaching hospitals, and I'm excited to see TGH lead on this innovative effort."

"On the state level, we're doing everything we can to ensure Floridians have access to the care they need," said Senator Boyd. "Working with Tampa General and USF, we crafted meaningful policy solutions that not only expand access to behavioral health care but also educate the next generation of providers."

"Today marks a pivotal moment for our state's commitment to behavioral health care access," said Senator Rouson. "With this partnership between the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital, we are laying the foundation for a healthier future for our community. This collaboration of academia and health care will nurture a robust workforce to meet the growing demand for quality care across Florida."

The new law was designed to advance Florida's behavioral health systems of care by creating a new integrated care and education model. With an emphasis on research, the behavioral health teaching hospitals will provide inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care, address system-wide behavioral health needs, and provide treatment and care for those who need long-term voluntary or involuntary civil commitment. In collaboration with the state, universities and private organizations, behavioral health teaching hospitals will also provide leading-edge education and training to strengthen Florida's behavioral health workforce.

The legislation established a statewide center to focus on recruitment and retention efforts and expand pathways to behavioral health professionals. Lawmakers selected USF as the ideal home for the Florida Center for Behavioral Health. USF's College of Behavioral and Community Sciences is uniquely positioned to support this initiative because of its interdisciplinary and collaborative focus on behavioral sciences and its portfolio of research conducted over the past 50 years.

"This is a milestone for Tampa General Hospital and for our city, as our medical industry grows and provides our residents with world-class health services and employment opportunities," said Mayor Castor. "TGH has served our community for generations and this type of expansion will only enhance its impact on the lives of countless Tampanians and others who come to our city seeking the best care available."

The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital, expected to open in 2025, will offer highly specialized and personalized care for many behavioral and mental health conditions. Tampa General has teamed up with Lifepoint Behavioral Health, which specializes in providing compassionate care across the behavioral health care continuum, to manage daily operations. Physicians with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at USF Morsani College of Medicine (USF Health) will offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient care in specialized units for child, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.

"This project recognizes the urgent need to better address chronic mental illness in this country," said Dr. Lockwood. "As a society, we must do more to improve mental health services and increase access and adherence to high quality mental health care. Fortunately, here in Tampa Bay, we are poised to do just that. Our partnership with Tampa General Hospital and Lifepoint Behavioral Health will offer a full range of complex innovative mental health care, improved access, and cutting-edge research for those who need it most."

"Our team at Lifepoint Behavioral Health has a vision for expanding access to evidence-driven behavioral health care in the communities we serve," said Bolmer. "We are proud to work alongside our partners, Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida, as we bring one of the state's first behavioral health teaching hospitals to patients here in Tampa and the surrounding region. The work we do at TGH Behavioral Health Hospital will not only benefit the patients who walk through our doors in Tampa but will help shape life-saving and life-changing care for patients throughout the state in need of mental health support. We look forward to all we will accomplish together as we advance our mission of making communities healthier."

The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital is located at 1303 West Kennedy Boulevard. It will serve as an integral part of the Tampa Medical and Research District, a hub of world-class clinical care, academics, research and biotechnology, anchored by TGH and USF Health. The hospital is planned to be approximately 83,000 square feet with 96 inpatient beds and will feature dedicated space for treating patients with behavioral health issues compounded by other medical conditions.

The demand for behavioral and mental health services is greater than ever before. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly one in four Americans lives with a mental illness. Across the nation, more than half of the population lives in an area with a shortage of mental health professionals.

Tampa General Hospital, a 981-bed, not-for-profit, academic health system, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region's only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in U.S. News & World Report's 2023-24 Best Hospitals, with six specialties ranking among the top 50 best hospital programs in the United States. Tampa General Hospital has been designated as a model of excellence by the 2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospitals list. The academic health system's commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious Forbes magazine rankings - in the top 100 nationally in the 2023 America's Best Employers for Women and top 25 in Florida in the 2023 America's Best Employers by State. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2021, provided a net community benefit of approximately $240.3 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education, and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation's busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed Neuroscience, Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of Florida. It also is home to the Muma Children's Hospital at TGH, the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital's footprint includes TGH North which is comprised of three hospitals and several outpatient locations in Citrus and Hernando counties, 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Outpatient Center, TGH Virtual Health, and 21 TGH Imaging outpatient radiology centers throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics. To see a medical care professional live anytime, anywhere on a smartphone, tablet or computer, visit Virtual Health | Tampa General Hospital ( As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that provides real-time situational awareness to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost. For more information, go to

The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation's top 50 public universities for five consecutive years, and this year USF earned its highest ranking ever among all universities public or private. In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of the top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

Lifepoint Behavioral Health specializes in providing compassionate care across the behavioral healthcare continuum. Through its 24 behavioral health hospitals and contract management and joint venture partnerships with hospitals and providers across the country, Lifepoint Behavioral Health offers programs designed to address the unique needs of various patient populations, including adolescents, adults and geriatrics. Lifepoint Behavioral Health has diversified programming, allowing specific therapy models of treatment while encompassing the whole person. These treatment models provide evidence-based therapies with distinct short- and long-term goals of improving and sustaining mental health. Lifepoint Behavioral Health is a business unit of Brentwood, Tennessee-based Lifepoint Health.

                   TGH Media Contact:                            USF Media Contact:

       Amanda Bevis                                  Sarah Worth

       (202) 680-9262 cell                           (813) 928-0861



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