On the Pulse: Medical Facilities of Polk County

On the Pulse: Medical Facilities of Polk County

The Watchmen Device, Amulet Device, Additional Locations, New Providers to the Region, and More

Spring is well under way, and the hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices around Central Florida are as busy as ever treating accidents, illnesses, and a lot of seasonal allergies.  Take a look at what’s going on with the healthcare providers around you, and read about the latest hirings, awards, openings, and advances among the first-class healthcare facilities of Central Florida.

*BayCare Health System

At three of the BayCare hospitals, including St. Joseph’s, Morton Plant, and Winter Haven Hospital, the Watchman Device was recently made available to patients.  The implanted device helps lower stroke risk for patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), especially those who are unable to tolerate blood-thinning medications.

The Watchman Implant, which resembles a mini umbrella, acts as a barrier to prevent left atrial appendage blood clots from entering the blood stream and blocking a blood vessel in the brain causing a stroke. The device is implanted in the left atrial appendage with a minimally invasive procedure using a catheter inserted through the groin. Within about 45 days, a thin layer of tissue grows over the surface of the Watchman implant.

At Winter Haven Hospital, electrophysiologist Rodrigo Bolanos, MD, director of Winter Haven’s EP lab, and Octavio Cosme, MD, medical director of interventional cardiology, began finalizing the clinical process for the device’s use in February, with the expectation to be using the device by April.

* Bond Clinic

There has been a lot happening at Winter Haven’s Bond Clinic.  In employee news, the clinic welcomed rheumatologist Roberto E. Pancorbo, MD.  Bond Clinic also welcomed two nurse practitioners.  The first was Deborah Wilkerson, MSN, ARNP-C. She will be working with Dr. Rajguru in his neurology practice.  The second was Charla Bailey, ARNP.  She will be working with Dr. Rivera in his internal medicine practice.

Employee of the Month awards were given to Mila Gonzalez, a Receipt Entry Clerk in the Billing Department, for February; March’s Employee of the Month award winner was Vanessa Retherford, a Credentialed Medical Assistant with Dr. McClendon’s Practice.

Lastly, Bond Clinic’s CEO & President of the Board, Dr. Iakovidis, was highlighted in the Lakeland Ledger for his involvement in the community and recent ownership of The Tropics, a professional, indoor soccer league that is part of a 17-team Major Arena Soccer League.

* Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center

There is big news coming out of HOFRMC.  In March, the facility announced it has plans to build a free-standing Emergency Room on the corner of US 192 and CR 545 in order to serve the communities of the Four Corners area of Osceola, Orange, Polk, and Lake Counties.  Located Southwest of Orlando, the ER will offer 24/7 emergency care, on-site radiology and laboratory services, board-certified emergency physicians and the skilled clinical staff of HOFRMC.  Those patients requiring admittance will benefit from the connections with the main hospital.  The ER facility is slated to be open in early 2018.

* Lake Wales Medical Center 

LWMC named its latest Employees of the Month.  For January, Erin Brown, an RN in the Emergency Department, and for February, Pat Rickard, an RN in the Cardiac Cath Lab, were both recognized as Employee of the Month.

On March 21, LWMC physicians held an Open House to introduce the group’s physicians to the community and to showcase their new office space across the street from the hospital’s ER.  The group includes primary care providers and specialists, including gastroenterology, otolaryngology (ENT), gynecology, and wound care.

* Lakeland Regional Health

Lakeland Regional Health welcomed many new physicians.  In March, hospitalist Luis A. Dominguez, MD; pediatrician Janelle Maya Lee, MD:  trauma surgeon Allison A. Palumbo, MD; and trauma surgeon Richard D. Sontchi, MD were welcomed aboard.  In April, Lakeland Regional Health welcomed hospitalist Félix Carrillo, MD; gastroenterologist David Vargas, MD, FACG; and urologist Marco Andres Camuzzi, DO, who will work at the Hollis Cancer Center.

Also in April, Lourdes Pelaez-Echevarria, DO, FACOS was named the chief of general surgery at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.  Dr. Pelaez-Echevarria has been with Lakeland Regional Health since 2009 as a general surgeon and is certified by the American Osteopathic Board in General Surgery.

In facility news, Lakeland Regional Health has been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s “150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” for 2017, which is their third consecutive year of receiving the honor.  Becker’s Hospital Review compiles the list to recognize hospitals, health systems, and physician practices for features such as outstanding workplace cultures, professional development, employee recognition, mentorship programs, competitive benefits, diversity initiatives, and employee satisfaction.

In an example of the first-rate healthcare offered by Lakeland Regional Health, the facility also announced that two specialists— Watson Clinic electrophysiologist Neal G. Kavesh, MD, FACC, FHRS, and interventional cardiologist Douglas G. Ebersole, MD— became the first in Central Florida to implant the Amulet device, a revolutionary new tool designed to prevent the risk of stroke.  Targeting patients who suffer from non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or an intolerance to long-term oral anticoagulation medications, the Amulet device offers alternative treatment options.  The first two procedures were recently performed in the Heart Center in a partnership between Watson Clinic Center for Research, Watson Clinic LLP, and Lakeland Regional Health.  The implants are part of clinical trials being sponsored by St. Jude Medical.

Lastly, Lakeland Regional Health has announced Project SEARCH.  Through a partnership with Polk County Public Schools, the Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc., the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Project SEARCH is a pilot internship program for students with disabilities ages 18-22 years old.  Lakeland Regional Health is Polk County’s first site, offering internships to students at 12 different hospital departments, helping the student interns to “acquire marketable and transferable skills for obtaining competitive employment.”

* Watson Clinic

In employee news, Watson Clinic welcomed radiologist Jay S. Park, DO; gastroenterologists Robert D. Lamport, MD; and audiologists Christian H. Stewart, Au.D.

Watson Clinic also welcomed Emily Beriswill, ARNP-C; William D. Keeler, ARNP-C; and Helen Schuh, DNP, ARNP-C.

Watson Clinic’s PEER Award— Program for Employee Excellence and Recognition (PEER)— winners were Julie Crawford, a deposition scheduler for the Clinic’s Risk Management department, in March; and Mashell Hooker, a chemotherapy and oncology team leader at the Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center, in April.

Similarly, the Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center’s oncologist-hematologist Galina Vugman, MD, has been appointed as the facility’s cancer liaison physician (CLP).  The prestigious three-year appointment is geared towards improving the performance of cancer centers nationwide.

In outreach offerings, Watson Clinic supported Lakeland Futbol Club, a youth soccer organization, as a Gold Sponsor and Preferred Medical Professionals, served as a sponsor of the SPCA’s 2017 Grand Slam Adoption Event, sponsored the 3rd Annual Celebrity Bowl fundraiser, supported the Relay for Life, and participated in a number of special events in observance of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.  Lastly, to observe Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, Watson Clinic is offering free skin evaluations at various dates in May.



Categories: Doctor News, Dr Features