Our formal boundaries extend from Kirkman Road to the east, the Lake County line to the west, the City of Apopka to the north and the Osceola County line to the south.
We are actively engaged in many communities within this area:
Creating the “healthiest community in the nation” is a big goal that requires a long-term vision, strategic planning and more than a little determination to make it happen. But residents in west Orange County have a great team behind them, guiding every step of the way.
BOARD CHAIR – Mark W. Griffith
Financial Planner, Griffith Financial Services
VICE CHAIR – Rod Talbot
President, Talbot Asset Management
TREASURER – Maryke Lee
Retired - Dean of Mathematics, Valencia College East
SECRETARY – Jaclyn Whiddon
The Whiddon Group - Orthodontic Marketing Practice Consultant
PAST BOARD CHAIR – Norma Sutton
Vice President, World Trade Center Orlando
TRUSTEE – Leslie Cervenka
TRUSTEE – A. Kurt Ardaman
Attorney, Fishback Dominick
TRUSTEE – Ward Britt
Retired, Delta Airlines Pilot
TRUSTEE – A. Denise Carter, M.D.
Physician, Florida Center for Orthopedics
TRUSTEE – H. Gerald Jowers
President, G.J. Batteries, Inc. & U.S. Lead, Inc.
TRUSTEE – Timothy M. Keating
President and CEO, R.C. Stevens Construction
TRUSTEE – Cheryl Miller
TRUSTEE – John E. Murphy, Jr.
EVP/Chief Financial Officer, OneBlood, Inc.
TRUSTEE – Jeffrey Sedloff
VP, June Engineering Consultants, Inc.
TRUSTEE – Peter D. Taylor, F.A.C.C.
Physician, Orlando Health Heart Institute Cardiology Group
TRUSTEE – Rosemary Wilsen
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – Tracy Swanson
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER – Kenneth Harker
Executive Asst and Grant Support – Luz Buckley
By law, the district is governed by a group of 16 volunteer trustees who are appointed by Florida’s Governor and serve four-year terms. For nine of the 16 seats, the Governor receives nominations from civic and government organizations within the district, such as the Gotha Community Association, Health Central Physicians, Health Central Hospital, the Rotary Club of Winter Garden, the town of Oakland, the West Orange Junior Service League, the town of Windermere and the Ocoee Women’s Club. The remaining seven “at-large” positions are recommended to the Governor by the Board itself. The Governor is not required to fill seats from these nominations but frequently does so.
In 1949, when west Orange County had more orange groves than paved roads, the Florida Legislature established the West Orange Healthcare District to help the rural community address its growing need for local, accessible medical care. Through an Enabling-Act, the Legislature gave the District the ability to levy a special property tax “to improve access to healthcare services and quality of care for residents of west Orange County.”
The West Orange Healthcare District’s first priority was to build and open West Orange Memorial Hospital in 1952, a 41-bed facility on North Dillard Street in Winter Garden. In the 1960s, the District launched Paramedic Services, creating the area’s first emergency rescue and transportation program. In the mid-1970s, the District purchased West Orange Manor, a 118-bed skilled nursing home, and a decade later, nearly doubled its capacity and changed its name to Health Central Park. Finally, in 1993, the District opened a new integrated hospital and medical office complex in Ocoee: Health Central Hospital.
Although its mission hadn’t changed in more than 60 years, the national healthcare landscape had changed dramatically by 2010. Major hospital providers all over the country were merging and Congress passed the Affordable Care Act.
At that time, District leaders began a two-year visioning process to determine how best to continue its role in this changing environment. District trustees concluded the way to have the most impact in the future was to sell its brick and mortar assets and transition from a behind-the-scenes administrator to an active healthcare investor.
After a rigorous search and selection process, the District selected Orlando Health as a strategic partner. Orlando Health was already well established in the community and in a position to help the District increase access to best-in-class healthcare for local residents. In 2012, the District entered into an agreement to sell its physical assets to Orlando Health in exchange for $181 million plus interest over 15 years. All proceeds from the transaction were to be used to fund efforts aimed at improving the quality and availability of world-class healthcare services and facilities in west Orange County.
Since then, the West Orange Healthcare District has and continues to strategically invest in programs and projects that make our residents healthier.
It’s important to note that while initially established with taxing authority, the Legislature eliminated taxing capabilities in 2000 and, unlike other independent special healthcare districts, the District does not currently levy any taxes to residents. Instead, it utilizes proceeds and investment earnings to fund grants to organizations in west Orange County who are fulfilling the mission of the District.
Making an Impact
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THE WEST ORANGE HEALTHCARE DISTRICT IS MAKING A REAL IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY