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The Villages
Friday, December 3, 2021

Official declares residents should invest ‘emotion’ in demanding improvements at The Villages hospital

An elected official has declared that residents should invest “emotion” in demanding improvements at UF Health-The Villages Hospital.

Don “Smoke” Hickman

Community Development District 9 Supervisor Don “Smoke” Hickman pointed to the recent outpouring of emotion by residents of The Villages over the potentially life-threatening delays in emergency ambulance transportation in Sumter County. The outrage of residents spurred the end to a contractual agreement with American Medical Response ambulance service and the responsibility of ambulance transport being turned over to The Villages Public Safety Department.

“When is someone going to take on the wait time at the hospital?” Hickman asked at Thursday’s CDD 9 Board of Supervisors meeting at SeaBreeze recreation Center.

He said that addressing the ambulance portion of the situation does not take on the longstanding problems with the wait times at the hospital, which was detailed in a Letter to the Editor this week by the son of a Village of Sunset Pointe resident.

Hickman suggested that if residents took on the hospital wait time issue with the same fervor as the ambulance delays, something might finally be accomplished.

Hickman suggested there has been a string of excuses from the hospital about the long wait times.

“The excuse today is COVID, but it’s never been a world class hospital,” Hickman said.

When it was announced in 2019 that the University of Florida was taking over the hospital in The Villages, there was hope for improvements with regard to wait times.

“As new leadership in the hospital has come in, its been one of the first things that has been promised,” said Supervisor Steve Brown.

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