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Tampa General appoints CEO of behavioral health hospital


  • By Laura Lyon
  • | 5:00 a.m. June 29, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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Tampa General Hospital hits another benchmark in its quest to open a behavioral health hospital in Tampa. Announced in 2022 and slated to open in 2025 after breaking ground last August, the CEO of the facility has now been chosen by the health care conglomerate. 

Doug Leonardo will begin his tenure effective July 1. Leonardo has a background in behavioral health spanning a quarter century, most recently serving as vice president of Medicaid Behavioral Health at Humana. Leonardo was senior vice president of operations at Chrysalis Health and executive director for BayCare Behavioral Health.

“The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital will play a critical role in reshaping the behavioral health landscape,” says Leonardo in a statement. “We’re combining state-of-the-art facilities with experienced providers and compassionate teams to fill the need for behavioral health services and build more resilient communities. I look forward to contributing my expertise and experience to build a model of behavioral health care for the state of Florida.”

Doug Leonardo, CEO of TGH Behavioral Health Hospital
Courtesy image

Leonardo’s background in behavioral health further extends into the industry. He served as chair and president of the Florida Behavioral Health Association Board. He was appointed by Florida’s Senate president in 2019 to serve on the Florida Commission on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. He served on Gov. DeSantis’ transition team in 2018, shaping the state’s approach to mental health issues. In 2015, Leonardo was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Drug Policy Advisory Council.

Behavioral health has increasingly become a focus across the country as all levels of administration prioritize the well-being of a jarred population in a post-COVID landscape. 

In 2022, Hillsborough County saw approximately 13,900 ER visits for mental disorders, a number that has been steadily climbing since at least 2005, according to Florida Health Charts. In the same year, paramedics responded to over 8,000 calls for substance overdoses. 

The 83,000 square-foot 96 inpatient bed facility aims to address behavioral health issues for every age demographic from children to geriatric care. It is currently the first and only freestanding academic medical behavioral health hospitals in Florida and is located at 1303 W. Kennedy Blvd. It will be part of the Tampa Medical and Research District, a hub of clinical care, academics, research and biotechnology, anchored by TGH and USF Health. 

 

author

Laura Lyon

Laura Lyon is the Business Observer's editor for the Tampa Bay region, covering business news in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties. She has a journalism degree from American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to the Business Observer, she worked in many storytelling capacities as a photographer and writer for various publications and brands.

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