Out of Space, Moffitt Cancer Center Seeking Urgent State Support

September 13, 2019

TAMPA, Fla.— Short on space and facing surging demand, Moffitt Cancer Center is asking the Florida Legislature to help support a new inpatient clinical research center and an expansion campus for clinical and research operations.

Moffitt’s request for the upcoming legislative session is urgent because the stakes are life and death for the many thousands of people who receive a cancer diagnosis. Since Moffitt opened its doors in 1986, Florida’s population has doubled. Core buildings are more than 30 years old and cannot handle future demand. The hospital is near or at full capacity every day. The primary research complex is out of room. And now Moffitt is also in danger of having to stop recruiting the best scientists because there is a lack of space for them to work.

The solution: Moffitt is seeking legislation to increase from 4% to 10% its share of annual cigarette tax money, which would generate an additional $22 million annually. Combined with private investment by Moffitt, the new money will pay for the space needed to ensure world-class cancer care for more patients and expanded lifesaving research.

“It is critical that our legislators in Tampa Bay and Florida recognize the vital need to ensure this peerless state institution can continue to grow, modernize and recruit the world's best minds,” said Moffitt President and CEO Alan F. List, M.D.

Moffitt is ranked one of the Top 10 cancer hospitals in America and best in the Southeast, and is Florida’s definitive leader in preventing, treating and striving to cure cancer, which will cause an estimated 45,000 deaths in the state this year alone. Moffitt, which began with a commitment by the Legislature 33 years ago, has become indispensable to Florida itself.

Moffitt Research Center RenderingSpecifically, here is how the additional tobacco tax money would be used:

  • $205 million would be paired with a Moffitt investment of $332 million to build the second stage of a state-of-the-art inpatient clinical research center on the current Hillsborough campus, above. The added money would increase patient capacity and fund vital upgrades and expansion for technology and research operations.
  • $191 million would support the development of clinical and research facilities on a new expansion campus in nearby Pasco County. This would allow Moffitt to meet future demand for cancer therapies, create a research park that would be a magnet for biotech partners, and expand its services in the Tampa Bay region.

Moffitt serves patients in all 67 Florida counties, all 50 states and more than 130 countries. Demand for cancer care increases every year. Moffitt currently serves more than 68,000 individual patients annually, and that number is expected to surpass 100,000 patients by 2026.

“Florida has the second highest cancer burden in America, and no place in the state responds like Moffitt Cancer Center — pursuing cures, saving lives and reducing suffering,” said Ambassador Mel Sembler of St. Petersburg, a member of Moffitt’s Board of Advisors. “Our leaders in the Legislature, I am sure, will recognize that Moffitt is a unique asset for Florida. It has put us on the map as a leader in scientific research, discovery, and invention and at the forefront of preventing and curing cancer.”

Beyond its lifesaving mission, Moffitt has become an economic powerhouse for Florida, with a total economic output contribution of $2.4 billion. It supports more than 13,000 jobs in the state and $943 million in personal income for Florida workers.

“Moffitt is a giant economic engine that has demonstrated a phenomenal return on investment,” said former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III. “Its economic impact is jeopardized if Moffitt can’t grow to meet demands. I am a small government conservative, and this use of tobacco revenue is a no-brainer for growing Florida’s economy.”

Moffitt, created by an act of the Legislature in 1981, is the only cancer hospital in Florida designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, a testament to the depth and breadth of its research.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 6,500 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.