On the Pulse

COVID Can’t Dampen the Spirit of Dedication and Excellence at Area Healthcare Facilities

To say the past few months have been a whirlwind for the healthcare industry is an understatement. Despite the pressures presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices of the Central Florida healthcare industry have been rising to the occasion, all while keeping up with the usual recognitions, awards, new services, and new facilities that are a mark of the level of excellence achieved by our region’s hardworking nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers. Read about the latest goings-on at a Central Florida healthcare facility near you!

BayCare: Bartow Regional Medical Center, Winter Haven Hospital, Winter Haven Women’s Hospital

Bartow Regional Medical Center

In employee recognition news, Bartow Regional Medical Center announced its Team Members of the Month award winners for February and March. February’s Team Member of the Month was Doug Deckard, a patient care technician, and March’s winner was Sheryl Anonuevo, an inpatient rehab team member.

Similarly, Natasha Schafer, RN, an Acute Care Unit nurse, was announced as the February DAISY Award winner for Bartow Regional Medical Center. The DAISY Awards were created to show gratitude to nurses who provide extraordinary care.

Winter Haven Hospital

In employee recognition news, Winter Haven Hospital announced that Shirline Ruffin, who is with the Food Services department at Winter Haven Women’s Hospital, was the Team Member of the Month for February.

Similarly, Winter Haven Hospital named its DAISY Award nurses for the first quarter of 2020. The DAISY Awards were created to show gratitude to nurses who provide extraordinary care. Shannon Cook, RN, with the Orthopedics unit, was January’s DAISY Award winner; Jennifer Diaz, RN, with the Medical/Surgical unit, was February’s winner; Michaela Hillenbrand, RN, with the Emergency Department, was March’s winner; Tori Moore, RN, with the Emergency Department, was April’s winner; and Joyce Wearing, RN, with the Mother/Baby unit, was May’s DAISY Award winner.


Lakeland Regional Health


In new employee news, Lakeland Regional Health welcomed many new team members. Dr. Omar M. Wazzan, MD, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Neurologist. Dr. Dipali Trivedi, MD, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Hematologic Oncologist, and is seeing

patients at the North Campus/Hollis Cancer Center. Dr. Mark Weisman, MD, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Psychiatrist seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus. Dr. Kevin Hsu, DO, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, and is seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus.


Also, Gloria Monasmith, LCSW, joined Lakeland Regional Health as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and is seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus. Lastly, Ellen Davis, PA-C, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Trauma and Acute Care Physician Assistant working at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.


In program recognition news, Lakeland Regional Health announced in late April that the hospital earned a B on the Hospital Safety Scorecard from the Leapfrog Group today. The Leapfrog Group compares more than 2,600 hospitals using rigorous reporting criteria for 28 measures for facilities that volunteer to be surveyed for the Scorecard. This is the sixth time LRH earned a grade of “B” or higher in the last five years.


Similarly, LRH was proud to announce in June that its Radiation Oncology program at the Hollis Cancer Center has become accredited by the American Society for Radiation Oncology Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx). This accreditation, effective through 2024, validates a program’s excellence in delivering high-quality patient care. LRH’s Radiation Oncology program is one of only three programs in Florida to earn this coveted accreditation.


In community partnership news, the Lakeland Regional Health Foundation announced its thanks in May for the receipt of a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to be used toward the Foundation’s COVID-19 campaign.

Additionally, kudos are in order for the partnership between Lakeland Regional Health and Watson Clinic, starting in early May, to find innovative solutions to ensure medical care remains safe for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. One example of the cooperative effort was to divide Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center into “two zones,” each zone designated patient towers and emergency room pods that housed respiratory patients, including COVID-19 patients, and those that did not. 

Bond Clinic

In new employee news, Bond Clinic welcomed Yonny Appratto, APRN, to the team. Appratto is working with Dr. Arango in her Family Medicine practice.

In employee recognition news, Bond Clinic announced the latest winners of their Team Member of the Month award. April’s award winner was Judy Polynice, a Medical Receptionist for Dr. Lopez and Brandi Ray, APRN. May’s award winner was Sally Bellamy, a Medical Receptionist Float.

In COVID-19 related news, Dr. Juan Rivera was featured on Despierta Tampa speaking to the Spanish Speaking Community about COVID-19. Similarly, Bond Clinic announced the start of TeleMedicine appointments in April to patients using a video chat function from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Lastly, in new facilities news, Bond Clinic opened a new Lakeland Complex in early May with two specialties to begin with, and more planned in the future. The first specialty was Bond Clinic Gynecologist Dr. Carlos Gabriel’s Better Bladder Center, which focuses on non-surgical treatment for patients with incontinence; the Center was formerly located in South Lakeland. The second specialty was Bond Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Kenny Nguyen’s Pediatrician practice; it’s the first Bond Clinic Pediatrics Department location in Lakeland.

The Complex is slated to house a Primary Care Clinic, Walk-in Care Clinic, additional Specialists, and a Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab Clinic. The Complex is located at 2039 E Edgewood Drive.

Watson Clinic

In new employee news, Watson Clinic welcomed Dr. Ajay K. Verma, MD, a board-certified radiologist to the team at Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. Additionally, Watson Clinic also welcomed Nichole Murphy, APRN, a registered nurse practitioner working with Urgent Care; and Amber Peterson, APRN, a registered nurse practitioner working as a pulmonology specialist.

In new services news, Watson Clinic announced in April they added Nephrology to the list of expert services they offer. Members of Watson Clinic’s highly skilled Nephrology department will provide comprehensive care at the Plant City location every Friday beginning on April 17. Watson Clinic’s Nephrology department specializes in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney disorders, including Chronic Kidney Disease.

Additionally, Watson Clinic also announced in May that they resumed all elective surgeries and procedures.

In accreditation news, Watson Clinic announced their Sleep Disorders Center has received a re-accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) for a period of five years. According to a press release on the accreditation, “This achievement testifies to Watson Clinic’s commitment to excellence in the testing, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.  To receive the five-year accreditation, the center had to meet or exceed all standards for professional healthcare as designated by the AASM following a detailed inspection of the center’s facility and staff.”  

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