More health care coming to West Orange County

Two recent groundbreaking ceremonies signaled the pending construction of two health care facilities in Winter Garden and Ocoee.

Rendering of Shepherd’s Hope’s permanent facility on Ninth Street in Winter Garden.
Rendering of Shepherd’s Hope’s permanent facility on Ninth Street in Winter Garden.
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Expanded health care options are coming to West Orange County, and two groundbreaking ceremonies were held in recent weeks to mark the start of construction on both of them.

The West Orange Medical Clinic & Administrative Center, on Ninth Street in Winter Garden, is the first permanent clinic for Shepherd’s Hope. It is a collaborative partnership between Shepherd’s Hope, the West Orange Healthcare District and the city of Winter Garden to provide greater access to free health care services in the area.

Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation is a partnership between Orlando Health, Health Central Hospital and the West Orange Healthcare District. The skilled-nursing and post-acute care facility, to be located on the hospital campus, will offer rehabilitation services and a dedicated unit to care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.


The Shepherd’s Hope facility, to be built at 455 Ninth St., will allow uninsured and underinsured residents access to important primary and secondary medical services and health management and education. Wellness programs will be offered, as well.

The 20-year-old faith-based Shepherd’s Hope organization is getting its first permanent location; it also operates five other free and charitable clinics in Central Florida.

The West Orange Healthcare District has pledged a $1 million matching grant to be used for capital facility construction.

“In addition to offering free medical care, this facility will also provide greater access to healthy food, creating a holistic approach to caring for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Tracy Swanson, executive director of the healthcare district. “It’s in perfect alignment with our mission, and we’re proud to have provided the seed capital for this project.”

The two acres of land on Ninth Street is being leased by the city of Winter Garden. “Shepherd’s Hope has been an effective healthcare

resource for two decades in our community, reaching those in need by providing much-needed medical visits to the uninsured,” said City Manager Mike Bollhoefer. “We are pleased to work with them in bringing a permanent medical clinic and their administrative center to Winter Garden.”

Other Founding Legacy donors are pitching in, too.

The West Orange Health Alliance has contributed $500,000 toward the West Orange Healthcare District’s $1 million matching gift. Dr. Phillips Charities is providing a $250,000 matching pledge.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church has committed $100,000 to build out as a tenant in the new facility. It will serve as a teaching kitchen to help Shepherd’s Hope patients and local residents learn how to prepare nutritious meals, and it will support a small farmers’ market planned for the adjacent city site by allowing vendors to use the space to prepare food products for sale.

Included in the facility will be an administration center, a health center and the St. Luke’s nonprofit community kitchen.

“It is significant in our 20th anniversary year that our new health care facility will return Shepherd’s Hope back to its roots in east Winter Garden, where our first patient was treated,” said Marni Stahlman, president/CEO of Shepherd’s Hope. “Joined again in our mission, as we were then, by longtime health care partners, Florida Hospital and Orlando Health, we now welcome the West Orange Healthcare District, West Orange Health Alliance, Dr. Phillips Charities and the City of Winter Garden into our family of ‘caring people, caring for people.’ United, along with our amazing volunteers, we will bring access to essential health care services that will transform the lives of those in need.”

For more information, visit or call (407) 876-6699.


Officials with the West Orange Healthcare District, Health Central Hospital and Orlando Health gathered Sept. 26 to break ground on a skilled-nursing facility near the main campus of the Ocoee hospital.

“We are excited to partner yet again with the West Orange Healthcare District as we work to increase access and expand the healthcare services our hospital and other facilities offer,” said Mark Marsh, president of Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital. “This skilled-nursing facility will allow our patients to receive the highly specialized levels of rehabilitative and post-acute care they require in a state-of-the-art facility here in the community they call home.”

The 95,000-square-foot Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation will have 110 beds for providing care to patients in need of either short-term outpatient rehabilitative services or long-term care.

A portion of those beds will be dedicated to inpatient rehabilitation for orthopedic/spine injury patients or post-surgery patients who need additional care prior to returning home. The facility will also house a separate memory care unit, built to provide a secure setting to care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and/or dementia.

“We welcome this new facility with open arms,” said Norma Sutton, chair of the West Orange Healthcare District, which funded $24.5 million toward the facility’s construction. “Our mission is to enhance the health and wellness of the residents of our community and this project brings high-quality healthcare right to our doorstep. It’s a wonderful addition to the campus."

Construction will begin later this year on the $37 million project, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months. The new facility will staff 150 full-time employees.

The West Orange Healthcare District is an independent special healthcare district whose mission is to enhance health and wellness in West Orange County.

The district is a founding champion of “Healthy West Orange,” a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation. Find more information at


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