On the Pulse: Change is byword at healthcare facilities

2014 begins a new era in healthcare. With mandated insurance and a major billing code change in the wings, employees at some newly merged medical organizations are encountering new faces, new rules, and even new email addresses.

While the details may still need to be worked out, change definitely is the byword as the nation grapples with the Affordable Care Act and its health insurance mandate. The industry also is grappling with the mandated billing code change slated for later in the year, which will provide more detail for diagnoses and inpatient care.

At Lakeland-based Watson Clinic, a newly upgraded computer system went into use at all 17 locations, which is intended to better serve the needs of patients and to comply with new federal regulations associated with the Affordable Care Act. The change was expected to mean longer wait times as staffers verify patient information, obtain photo identification and an insurance card upon check-in.

Here’s more about what’s happening at area medical establishments.


The first da Vinci® robotically-assisted single-site hysterectomy in Polk, Hillsborough and Highlands counties was performed at Bartow Regional Medical Center last November by Dr. Richard Cardosi,a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and gynecologic oncologist with Watson Clinic, who is also a Polk County Medical Association member.

The surgery uses the da Vinci® robotic system through a 2.5 centimeter single incision allowing for better cosmoses, less pain, and quicker recovery. Bartow Regional and Dr. Cardosi are currently the only facility and surgeon to offer this approach to hysterectomy in the area.  Dr. Cardosi is only one of six surgeons in the state of Florida trained to perform the da Vinci® robotically-assisted single-site hysterectomy.

“The da Vinci® Surgical System allows me to perform an almost scarless hysterectomy with accurate precision, enhanced maneuverability, and 3-D, high definition visualization,” Dr. Cardosi says.

Surgeons at Bartow Regional use the da Vinci® Surgical System for a variety of minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures, including general and gynecologic surgery.


A board-certified urologist, Dr. Xenofon Papadopoulos, has joined the staff at Winter Haven-based Bond Clinic. Specializing in Urologic Oncology, Robotics, and Endourology, he is proficient in stone disease, pediatric urology, and vasectomy. Dr. Papadopoulos earned his medical degree from University Medical School in Debrecen, Hungary.


Dr. Eric L. Hensen,a doctor of osteopathic medicine specializing in the head and neck and orofacial plastic surgery, has joined Clark & Daughtrey, a division of Lakeland Regional Health Systems.


Dr. George Torres, a Pulmonary care physician, started at Winter Haven-based Gessler Clinic Monday.


In Davenport,HOFRMC is gaining recognition for its state-of-the-art Center for Joint Replacement. The medical center was named one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures by The Joint Commission, a leading accreditor of American healthcare organizations.

HOFRMC was recognized based on data reported about evidence-based clinical procedures shown to improve care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, and other conditions.

It is one of 405 U.S. hospitals and critical access hospitals earning the distinction of top performer on key quality measures for attaining, and sustaining, excellence in accountability measure performance. Inclusion on the list is based on accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission during the previous calendar year. This first recognition program is based on data reported for 2010.

The medical center also was designated an Aetna Institute of Quality® Orthopedic Care Facility for total joint replacement. Aetna makes available information about the quality and cost of healthcare services to its members to help them make healthcare decisions. In line with this goal, Aetna recognizes hospitals and facilities in its network that offer specialized clinical services for certain health conditions. Facilities are selected for consistently delivering evidence-based, safe care.

The Center for Joint Replacement is staffed with highly trained nurses, physical therapists, and other clinical teams.  These professionals work closely with the surgeon to ensure patients get the best orthopedic care.  It strives to help people maintain an active lifestyle by addressing mobility and pain issues with proven therapies.


LWMC presented its annual employee awards on December 14, during the hospital’s annual holiday party. Award winners were Employee of the Year, Jon Kilpatrick (materials management); Clinical Managers of the Year, Patricia Parker, Registered Nurse (medical surgical) and Jessica Deckard, Registered Nurse (critical care); Non-Clinical Manager of the Year, Rafael Pabon, Registered Nurse (risk management); Physician of the Year, Dr. Sunil Nihalani; and Community Cares Star Performers: Fayreona Grayes – Registration, Debra Bixler – Surgical Services, Christina Stone – Nuclear Medicine, Norma Wagle – Rehabilitative Services, Anita Persaud – Registration, Katie Pate – Progressive Care Unit, and Marcos Rivera Gonzalez – Medical Surgery.

The hospital’s Weight Loss Challenge winners were Male: First, Todd Schoen, 25.9 percent weight lost; Second, Monte Holm, 18.9 percent lost; and Female: First, Danise Jackson, 26.8 percent lost; and Second, Wanda Joyce, 21.6 percent lost. The Weight Loss Challenge started in August. Participating employees weighed-in monthly. “Our Dietitian Jamie Moore, who helped coordinate this year’s challenge, provided healthy eating tips and recipes regularly throughout the challenge,” states LWMC Marketing Director Maryemma Bachelder, who helped coordinate the program. “It’s important to us that we encourage our employees to make healthy lifestyle changes, and that we not encourage fad diets or yo-yo dieting.”


New at LRMC is Julie Stark, a registered nurse, named director of Cardiac/Surgical Services. Stark holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration from University of St. Francis.

April Novotny, a registered nurse, has been named LRMC’s Director of Emergency Services. She has been with LRMC for 12 years. Previously the Emergency Department manager, Novotny holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing from University of South Florida (USF).

Jacob Temple, a registered nurse, has been appointed LRMC’s director of Inpatient and Outpatient Mental Health Services. He has been with LRMC eight years and holds a Master of Science in Nursing from Florida Southern College. Temple is also a Certified Nurse Practitioner in Adult Health through American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).


New at Watson Clinic is Dr. Alberto M. Maldonado,who joined the cardiovascular surgery team. Dr. Maldonado will perform surgical procedures at LRMC, and maintain an office at Watson Clinic’s Main location, 1600 Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Lakeland.His areas of expertise include coronary artery revascularization, valve replacement and repair, peripheral vascular revascularization and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. He is board-certified in general and thoracic surgery.

In other clinic news Dr. James Mammel>, an obstetrician/gynecologist and a Polk County Medical Association member, was recently awarded the title of Mr. Lakeland by Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center.  Celebrating its first year, the Mr. Lakeland contest considers candidates who epitomize positive influence in the community. Proceeds from the contest support CFSHC’s mission to provide world-class, compassionate care when diagnosing and treating speech and language disorders.

Watson Clinic internal medicine specialist Dr. Ernesto Uy, who is also a Polk County Medical Association member, recently returned from Moscow, Russia, where he served as the team physician for the Miss Universe 2013 pageant.  This is the fifth year Dr. Uy has served in this capacity for the pageant.



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