UF Health announces new chief operating officer for Central Florida division

Heather Bentley Long, M.S.N.Heather Bentley Long, M.S.N., has been named chief operating officer for University of Florida Health Central Florida, effective June 1.  
“I am thrilled that Long has made the choice to join the UF Health family in this key position,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. 
“Her extensive background in clinical operations will be key to UF Health Central Florida’s future success as we continue to expand our service offerings to meet the needs of the residents of this vibrant and rapidly expanding region.”  
In her role, Long will oversee the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the division’s two acute care facilities — UF Health Leesburg Hospital and UF Health The Villages® Hospital. She will also provide direct management oversight for all quality improvement initiatives in partnership with the division’s chief medical officer, with a major focus on developing cost effective and integrated clinical programs.  
Additionally, Long will develop and foster effective collaboration between clinical departments, medical staff leadership and other affiliated services to ensure an integrated approach to service delivery and achieving the organization’s operational goals and objectives. “It is imperative that we optimize operational efficiencies while improving the overall care we provide to our patients, particularly during these challenging times in the health care industry,” said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands.   
Long earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in health care administration from Webster University. Prior to joining UF Health, she served in a number of executive leadership positions with Altamonte Springs–based AdventHealth, including her most recent post as system senior vice president, clinical services and chief nursing officer, acute care services for the Central Florida–South Region. Long is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and was a nominee for Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare Award in 2019.  
She is also involved in the community, having served as a past board member of Kids House of Seminole and as a medical team volunteer during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.  
Over the course of her career, Long has been recognized as a dynamic leader with a passion for driving organizational performance while fostering a culture of excellence.  
“It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to join a world-class academic health system that is respected as a leader in medicine and research, both nationally and in our state,” said Long. “I call Central Florida home and I am committed to ensuring that we identify new strategies to improve patient care and continue to deliver on our promise of improving the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities we serve in the region.” 
About UF Health 
UF Health is a world-class academic health center that combines leading-edge research at campuses around Florida with outstanding clinical care at a network of hospitals around the state. The flagship is UF Health Shands Hospital, ranked the No. 1 hospital in Florida in the 2020-21 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals survey, with nine adult and three pediatric specialties in the top 50 in the nation, more than any other hospital in Florida.  
With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville as well as satellite sites in Central Florida and several other locations, UF Health provides exemplary health care to patients across the third-most populous state in the nation. UF Health consists of six health colleges, nine research centers and institutes,10 hospitals — including two teaching hospitals and five specialty hospitals — and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services. 
The backbone of UF Health is a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 33,000 people who provide lifesaving care and research breakthroughs for more than 3 million patients who come to UF Health each year from around the U.S. and more than 30 countries. 
UF Health is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. As part of the state’s “safety-net’’ hospital system, caring for people who have little or no medical coverage, UF Health provided more than $254.9 million in unsupported charity care and social responsibility across its Gainesville and Jacksonville campuses in fiscal year 2019. Annually, UF Health contributes more than $4.6 billion to Florida’s overall economy. 
Our mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation. Visit www.UFHealth.org to learn more. 
About UF Health Central Florida
UF Health Central Florida, formerly known as Central Florida Health and acquired by UF Health in 2020, is an award-winning, not-for-profit health care system and the largest, most comprehensive provider of health care services in the region. We care for patients in Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties through inpatient acute hospital services at UF Health The Villages® Hospital and UF Health Leesburg Hospital, inpatient rehabilitation services at UF Health The Villages® Rehabilitation Hospital, adult inpatient psychiatric services at the UF Health Leesburg Hospital Senior Behavioral Health Center and diagnostic laboratory services at several locations. As a premier health care provider, UF Health Central Florida takes pride in providing progressive, innovative technology, along with building strong relationships with patients, families, physicians and residents of the communities it serves. To learn more, visit  www.CentralFloridaHealth.org.  
Media contact: Frank Faust at ffaust@centflhealth.org or352-323-3278.