Flagler Health+ and UF Health Announce ‘Definitive’ Agreement to Combine

UF Health’s acquisition of Flagler Health+ is closer to completion with the announcement of a definitive agreement between the two health systems.

Earlier this year, Flagler Health+ officials said they were exploring options to join with another “like-minded” health care system to enhance local services and expand access to care in the community. UF Health was ultimately selected as a potential partner because the University of Florida academic health system “offers the strengths of a top 5 public research institution coupled with innovative, high-quality, leading-edge care that will benefit the residents of Flagler, St. Johns, Putnam, Clay and Duval counties, “according to the February media release.

While UF Health is acquiring the St. Johns County-based health system, Flagler Health+ officials said the most accurate description of the new entity is “a sole member substitution”: where the buyer becomes the sole equity holder in the new organization. Discussions regarding the future name and logo of Flagler Health+ are still in progress and no final decision has been made.

The deal is expected to close this summer, according to a media release.

University of Florida President Ben Sasse said the agreement will enhance health care options in the region.

“UF Health is uniquely positioned to bring much-needed top-flight service to Northeast Florida and to ensure that all of the region’s residents have access to the very best health care available,” he said in a media release. “Florida’s population growth is remarkable, and Flagler and St. Johns are among the state’s 10 fastest-growing counties. This agreement builds on Flagler’s long tradition of caring for the community and positions UF to offer the latest breakthroughs in pursuit of ensuring Floridians can enjoy the quality of life they deserve.”

Flagler Health+ CEO Carlton DeVooght said the deal is good news for St. Johns County.

“At the time we made our initial selection, we were confident that UF Health matched our longstanding commitment to our community and our dedication to our team members, providers and patients,” he said in the release. “Our discussions in reaching this definitive agreement have cemented our initial impressions. We look forward to joining the UF Health family.”

As part of the process of finding a suitable partner, Flagler Health+ officials focused on several key issues, including continued enhancement of quality and patient satisfaction through the sharing of best practices, supporting key community-focused services, enhancing Flagler Health+’s ability to provide high-quality health care services to underserved populations, as well as strengthening recruitment and retention of staff, adding technology resources and gaining access to capital to support future investments.

In an interview with EVOLVE News, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Isabelle Renault said the deal will benefit businesses and residents in the county.

“We are welcoming the news that UF Health and Flagler Health + have reached a definitive agreement,” she said. “This is a major step forward in having UF Health and Flagler Health+ partner for the full integration of UF Health services in St. Johns County.  The resources of a research university hospital will widely benefit our residents” I

Renault said the agreement will also enhance the county’s ability to attract new business development in targeted industries.

“This agreement validates the fact that St. Johns County has a promising future in attracting health science and bio tech industries,” she said. We are looking forward to engaging UF Health and Flagler Health +’s transition team to explore opportunities for involvement with the business community.”

DeVooght and Nelson will be guest speakers at the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Quarterly Breakfast on June 16. This will be their first public discussion since announcing they have agreed to move forward with the merger of Flagler Health+ becoming a part of UF Health.

The breakfast is a members-only event and members can register on the Chamber website, sjcchamber.com. Non-members interested in attending can join the Chamber by contacting Sam Ruiz at sam.ruiz@sjcchamber.com and purchasing a breakfast ticket.