Ocala Heart of Florida CEO Announces Leaving for Naples, Florida
When Florida Heart Health Center Jamie Ulmer began work in 2018, the non-profit health center has seen around 19,000 patients a year. Four and a half years later, there are 30,000 every year.
During this period, the operating budget grew from approximately $12 million to $30 million, not including a $35 million contract with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to provide health care to inmates, plus an additional $2 million over three years to provide care for county employees. .
“I think we’ve grown from a small community health center to a great, powerful, high-quality primary care center for everyone,” he said in his office Friday.
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In addition to increasing the number of low-income and uninsured or underinsured patients that HFHC sees, Ulmer has moved and improved the nonprofit organization Headquarterled the organization through a pandemic and opened four pharmacies.
With a growing list of accomplishments that have changed the Marion County healthcare landscape, Ulmer decided to step up and share his vision with another Southwest Florida community, where he hopes continue to reduce health care gaps.
Closing healthcare gaps
As a federally licensed health center, HFHC provides care to underserved communities, offering affordable services on a sliding scale in multiple locations across Marion County.
After four and a half years of service, his greatest pride is in filling gaps in care for those in need.
“Health centers are known for doing more with less,” he said. “But what we did in the last four and a half years was beyond that. It took a few steps back to take a lot of steps forward, and it paid off. I think we took calculated risks that were very important to our patients.
Most notable was taking virtually every penny they had to buy the new headquarters in 2020 in Albertson’s old building at 2553 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. The benefits of the initial risk are seen every day in families who come for primary care, maternity care, gynecological, dental, behavioral health and pharmaceutical needs.
“We’ve bridged the gap with people who don’t have insurance or belong to an underserved population with a facility that’s just as nice or nicer than where (millionaires and billionaires) go,” he said. -he declares. “That’s what we do. We fill in the gaps in a community.
Creation of a team of health “soldiers”
This includes leading the organization during a pandemic. His team has provided over 50,000 vaccines, 20,000 COVID-19 tests and over 500 monoclonal antibody treatments.
Ulmer is also proud to have renewed HFHC’s relationships with Marion County, Marion County Board of Commissioners, Florida Department of Health in Marion County, United Way of Marion County, AdventHealth Ocala and HCA Florida Hospital Ocala.
Although Ulmer was a visionary and an implementer for the health center, he did not do it alone. He is proud of his “ride or die” employees who put “literally blood, sweat and tears” into the creation of HFHC’s clinics.
Having served in the US military for more than 24 years, he compared his team to soldiers who deployed to another country and put on their backpacks for a mission to increase healthcare.
“He’s taken us to the next level, and I think the relationship he’s built with each of his executives has been special,” said Heather James, director of marketing and public relations. “(He) encouraged us to believe in ourselves, in our positions and in what we do, and he wants the best for us personally and professionally.”
The Board of Directors will search for a new CEO
Ulmer revealed he will be traveling to Naples to join the Southwest Florida Health Care Network in Collier County, also a federally qualified health center.
“I think God told me it was time for me to move to another community that had similar struggles, and I think it was kind of a pat on my shoulder to say, ‘Hey, you got well done. It’s time for you to move on,” he said. “I found this community to be just similar to Marion County in terms of gaps in care, but on a larger scale.”
Another signal came in a handful of awards HFHC received in the space of a week recently, including the 2022 Dr. Mike Jordan Achievement Award from the Marion County Children’s Alliance, the Champions of United Way of Marion County’s 2021 Community Impact for Public and Community Services. and the Secretary of Defense’s Patriot Award.
“For me, it was the message: ‘OK, you have done your action here. You have done your good. It’s time to apply this to another community,” he said.
COO Maria Torres, whom Ulmer describes as resilient and someone who leads by example, will serve as interim CEO after her June 24 departure.
“I expect the board to hire someone who is very, very progressive, innovative and will continue to move the organization forward in a very positive way for this whole community,” Ulmer said, noting that he expects the council to conduct a national search. , or it can choose to hire internally.
In addition to thanking its staff, Ulmer expressed gratitude to its board of directors.
“They literally said, ‘OK, Jamie, here’s the bar. Go do what you do,” he said. “They never held me back. I hope they don’t hold back the next CEO. Let them go.”
Ulmer will continue to help Heart of Florida and other health centers
Even though his time with HFHC is coming to an end, there is a lot on the horizon for the health center.
The organization may have the opportunity to provide health care to the Villages and Sumter County in the future. In Marion County, hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on expanding the Dunnellon Clinic. Dental care happens at Belleview Institution.
Ulmer hopes HFHC will continue to improve access to specialty care, making it easier for patients who otherwise cannot afford it.
Although he is no longer in Marion County, Ulmer will always be part of the “community health center movement” as he serves on several state and national community health center committees and boards, such as the Florida Association of Community Health Centers. .
“As I sit in these national and state meetings, I will always apply the principles and policies that positively impact the Heart of Florida Health Center in this community, even though I may not be here,” said he declared.
Contact reporter Danielle Johnson at [email protected]