The Villages, recognizing the important role that healthcare would play in attracting those aged 55+ to their community, have tried their best to be on the leading edge as far as the types of care, types of facilities, and quality of service are concerned.
As you'll read about in my book, sometimes they've succeeded and sometimes they've failed, but they continue to push their efforts forward.
Perhaps at no time was this more apparent than during the Coronavirus pandemic, during which we saw the community pull together in various ways to keep the virus' impact on the residents lifestyle to a minimum.
UF Health The Villages Hospital
One of The Villages founder Harold Schwartz’s last missions was to see a hospital built in the community before he died. In fact, he was so confident in the mission that he erected a billboard with a picture of himself pointing to a vacant lot with the words “I’ll live to see The Villages Regional Hospital right here”.
And he did! The Villages Regional Hospital opened in July 2002, and Schwartz passed away at the age of 93 on December 22, 2003. Today, it is a 307-bed acute care hospital owned by UF Health, that has more than tripled in size since opening.
As I think is the case with just about any hospital, you’ll hear both good and bad things from people depending on the experiences they had. One of the complaints you’ll hear most about this hospital is that ER wait times can be on the longer side, especially during the “busy season” (roughly November to April) which just so happens to coincide with cold and flu season. Go figure.
Other Hospitals Near The Villages
If you do decide to go elsewhere for your hospital needs, other hospitals are available in Leesburg and Ocala.
Freestanding Emergency Rooms
UF Health The Villages Hospital is way up in the Spanish Springs Area of The Villages, residents in the newer areas have to travel quite a way for emergency care. But in 2020, two freestanding Emergency Rooms opened in locations that are more convenient to residents in other parts of The Villages.
One is run by Ocala Health and it is located in Wildwood on 466A just west of Buena Vista Blvd.
The UF Health The Villages® Hospital Freestanding ER is directly across from Brownwood Paddock Square.
The Villages Health
The main idea behind The Villages Health is that it is community-based and completely focused on the patients it serves in The Villages. There is a strong emphasis placed on preventative care, which should lead to reducing the overall cost of healthcare for residents of The Villages.
One of the best aspects about The Villages Health is that its care centers are conveniently located throughout The Villages. This makes it easy for Villagers to get to and from their appointments. Imagine the convenience of having your doctor, who you have a personal relationship with, only a 10-15 minute golf cart ride away.
These care centers are brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities that have been custom designed to provide exceptional care for aging adults. At the same time, they are designed to blend into The Villages landscape, so patients will feel completely comfortable visiting the centers.
There are currently seven primary care centers and two specialty care centers spread throughout the community.
The Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood
Opened in 2020, the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood is a four-story, 240,000-square-foot ambulatory/outpatient medical center near Brownwood Paddock Square.
Designed to look more like a welcoming hotel rather than a sterile medical center, the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood is connected to the Brownwood Hotel and Spa, a AAA Four Diamond property.
VA Outpatient Clinic
If you qualify for Veterans health care benefits, there is a VA Outpatient Clinic in The Villages. The 99,000 square foot facility opened in 2010 and serves thousands of veterans that call The Villages home. Major medical procedures and hospitalization are not provided here as it is an outpatient facility.
If you need a major procedure or more specialized care than this facility can provide, you will be referred (or even transferred, if necessary) to another local facility or the VA Medical Center in Gainesville, which is only about an hour away.
There's More on Healthcare in My Book
My book covers a lot more on health care in The Villages, including how good the care actually is, information on the new hospital coming soon in the new parts of The Villages currently being developed, and more.