Behavioral Health Leader Doug Leonardo to Take Helm at New TGH Behavioral Health Hospital

Published: Jun 27, 2024

Expected to open in 2025, the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital will expand access to world-class behavioral health services and train the state’s future behavioral health workforce.


Tampa, FL (June 27, 2024) Tampa General Hospital (TGH), the region’s only academic health system, announced Doug Leonardo as the new president and CEO of the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital, effective July 1. In his new role, Leonardo will oversee behavioral health services across the entire TGH system and manage day-to-day operations in collaboration with Lifepoint Behavioral Health, a business unit of Lifepoint Health, at the new state-of-the-art facility.


“We’re excited to welcome a world-class leader in behavioral health to the TGH team,” said John Couris, president and CEO at Tampa General. “With the leadership of Doug Leonardo, the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital will be a premier destination for patients across the region and beyond to access best-in-class academic-based behavioral health services, as well as the latest research findings and techniques to address the most complex mental health challenges.”


Leonardo brings more than 25 years of experience in behavioral health, having developed and implemented strategies to increase access to care, improve the cost of care and develop services in new markets. He has successfully integrated behavioral health care services at 12 hospitals and emergency departments in Florida’s largest metropolitan areas.


“The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital will play a critical role in reshaping the behavioral health landscape,” said Leonardo. “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.”


Leonardo joins Tampa General from Humana, where he served as vice president of Medicaid Behavioral Health. Prior to working with Humana, Leonardo was senior vice president of operations at Chrysalis Health, a large provider organization. He has also served as executive director for BayCare Behavioral Health.


“We are pleased to welcome Doug Leonardo to our team at Lifepoint Behavioral Health and know he will be a strong leader for the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital,” said Russ Bailey, president, Lifepoint Behavioral Health. “As a seasoned leader and executive with more than two decades of experience in behavioral health care, he is well-equipped to build and lead a patient-focused, multidisciplinary team of caregivers. We look forward to partnering with Doug and the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital team as we expand access to leading-edge academic medical care in Tampa Bay and advance our mission of making communities healthier.”


Leonardo is a sought-after leader on behavioral health issues, having 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 Governor Ron DeSantis’ transition team in 2018, shaping the state’s approach to mental health issues. In 2015, Leonardo was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Drug Policy Advisory Council.


“Doug Leonardo is an amazing choice to lead this hospital,” said Dr. Ryan Wagoner, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “We are excited to partner with someone with his wide breadth of experience across multiple areas of behavioral health and who has a real passion for this patient population. His leadership in multiple organizations at the state level speaks to his commitment to patients and advancing psychiatric treatment. His drive to facilitate high-quality care will dovetail nicely with our academic medicine model, where we are pursuing excellence in clinical care, teaching and research at the new behavioral health hospital.”


 The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital, expected to open in 2025, will offer highly specialized and personalized care for many behavioral and mental health conditions. Tampa General has teamed up with Lifepoint Behavioral Health, which specializes in providing compassionate care across the behavioral health care continuum, to manage daily operations. Physicians with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the USF Morsani College of Medicine will offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient care in specialized units for child, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.

The Florida Legislature passed legislation this year that establishes the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital as one of the state’s first four behavioral health teaching hospitals. The new law was designed to advance Florida’s behavioral health systems of care by creating a new integrated care and education model. With an emphasis on research, the behavioral health teaching hospitals will provide inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care, address system-wide behavioral health needs, and provide treatment and care for those who need long-term voluntary or involuntary civil commitment. In collaboration with the state, universities and private organizations, behavioral health teaching hospitals will also provide leading-edge education and training to strengthen Florida’s behavioral health workforce.


The TGH Behavioral Health Hospital is located at 1303 West Kennedy Boulevard. It will serve as an integral part of the Tampa Medical and Research District, a hub of world-class clinical care, academics, research and biotechnology, anchored by TGH and USF Health. The hospital is planned to be approximately 83,000 square feet with 96 inpatient beds and will feature dedicated space for treating patients with behavioral health issues compounded by other medical conditions.