Growing healthier communities from the ground up by Jamie Ulmer, CEO of Healthcare Network

For 46 years, supporters across Southwest Florida and beyond have helped improve access to healthcare for all residents of Collier County, regardless of income, insurance, or background.

Healthcare Network, founded in Immokalee in 1977, began caring for migrant farmworkers and underserved populations who had difficulties accessing primary healthcare. Southwest Florida has grown substantially over the years, of course, and so, too, has the need for integrated medical care.

Today, Healthcare Network cares for more than 50,000 patients annually, including over half the children in Collier County. As the community grows, Healthcare Network’s highly trained staff continues to meet the needs of patients through 20 practices located throughout Collier County.

Nurturing And Anchoring Roots In The Community
In 2024, the nonprofit will begin renovations to Marion E. Fether, an expansive building that was the organization’s first comprehensive medical center which is located in Immokalee. Other than routine maintenance and upkeep, this building has been virtually untouched since its grand opening in 1993. Renovation plans include reimagining interior administrative
spaces to provide additional patient rooms, upgrading technology, and enhancing the patient experience. Beyond these visual changes, renovations reflect Healthcare Network’s commitment to the vital, quality healthcare that patients and the community deserve.

Branching Into New Innovations Of Care
Healthcare Network is making great strides in its pursuit to make healthcare accessible to all through a multitude of new initiatives that support families and individuals at every age level, including:

• Medical Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse Program
• Family Medicine and Pediatric Dental Residency Programs
• Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
• Prescription Mail Order
• Pediatric Dental IV Sedation for Complex Dental Needs
• WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project

These are world-class programs that elevate healthcare to the next level, and they’re only possible because of the generous support from hundreds of individuals, businesses, foundations,  and philanthropic organizations that recognize the importance of every member of a community having equal access to high-quality healthcare. This collective effort is making a tremendous impact on the lives of underserved communities in Southwest Florida, now and for many years to come.

Planting Healthy Seeds In Another Community
When Healthcare Network was founded, Collier County’s population was approaching 80,000 residents. The 2020 U.S. Census put the population at 375,752, and a 2022 estimate rose to 397,994 – that’s a 6% gain in just two years.

That growth is driving the need for more affordable, inclusive healthcare options. To accommodate this growth, Healthcare Network is building a new health center in the Orangetree area of Golden Gate Estates, a community that lacks access to medical care for miles. While much of the real estate west of I-75 is built out, developers are heading inland with a variety of residential communities and apartment complexes in the planning, design, and construction phases.

The new $15 million comprehensive health center in Orangetree is set to begin construction in 2024. Once complete, it will offer pediatrics, adult and senior care, obstetrics and gynecology, dental care, and behavioral health counseling, as well as a pharmacy to serve residents living in this medically underserved area. As with all Healthcare Network practices, the health center in Orangetree will provide the community with accessible, affordable, quality care and a promise to not turn anyone away because of their inability to pay for medical services.

Healthcare Network has begun asking the community to help grow its legacy of exceptional care. Gifts of any amount will ultimately help the organization cultivate a healthy and thriving community that’s being built from the ground up, one donation at a time.

For more information, please visit or call 239-658-3000.

About the Author
Jamie Ulmer is President and CEO of Healthcare Network, which has a mission to provide quality healthcare accessible to everyone in the community.

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