UF Health is opening three specialty medical practices within The Oaks Mall.
The three practices will be otolaryngology, audiology and ophthalmology. A surgery center is also opening to support the facilities. The Oaks Mall facilities are set to open in 14-15 months and will take patients with all kinds of insurance and those without.
One of the anchors will be otolaryngology, which offer ENT services like ear, nose and throat care, allergy treatment and sinus surgeries, said Marvin Dewar, Senior Associate Dean at the UF College of Medicine.
The other anchor will be ophthalmology, which covers general eye problems as well as specializations for parts of the eye like the retina and cornea, glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology, a subspeciality that combines neurology and ophthalmology.
UF Health had services that were space restrained and could no longer grow in their current location, Dewar said.
This inspired the search for new facilities, which eventually led to the selection of a former Sears store at The Oaks Mall.
“It’s both a central location for the local community and easily accessible,” Dewar said, “There were a lot of things that made it attractive.”
Dr. Sonal Tuli MD, UF chair of Department of Ophthalmology, also expressed enthusiasm for the benefits of the new location.
Dr. Tuli, who is also the ophthalmology clinic medical director, said the facilities will have large space for expansion and will be easily accessible being right off of I-75. A surgery center will also be next to the facilities, allowing for minimal patient travel.
“All of our physicians and staff are very excited about this opportunity,” Dr. Tuli said.
Patrick Antonelli MD, Chair of Otolaryngology at the UF College of Medicine, said the shopping experience that comes with being in a retail center is a very favorable aspect of the new location.
“A lot of our patients [that] come in from outside the area here really find it a big positive to get not only their medical care when they come in, but to get some shopping done” Antonelli said.
Like Dr. Tuli, he is also looking forward to the amount of space the new location has to offer. The additional space allows for patients to be seen faster, which will cut wait times.
“Im very happy that my patients won’t have to run down to the main campus everytime they need to get a scan, or to see an audiologist or an opthamologist” Antonelli said.