On the Pulse: What’s in the works for local medical facilities in 2017

DURING THE RECENT HOLIDAYS and as the New Year dawned, the hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices of Central Florida were getting into the spirit of giving while providing superior healthcare to area residents. Find out what else has been going on in recent months, as well as events and expansions that are in the works at area clinics, hospitals, physician’s groups, and doctor’s offices.


On December 12, BayCare Health System opened its first Urgent Care Center in Haines City. Located at 36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844, the center offers healthcare for minor illnesses and injuries, flu and colds, sprains and strains, minor cuts, stings and burns. It’s part of the BayCare Health System commitment to expanding access to healthcare in Polk County and the Tampa Bay area.

In facility news, BayCare Health System is bringing telemedicine to Winter Haven Hospital in the form of eCare, to enhance the care of critically ill patients. Combining medical expertise, technology, and experienced critical care nurses and doctors, eCare is an electronic patient monitoring system that uses remote computer monitoring technology. Through this technology which includes banks of computer monitors located at a centralized location, eCare connects a specially trained team of critical care physicians and nurses to the bedside team in the hospital.


The last quarter of the year has been a busy one for Bond Clinic in Winter Haven. Bond Clinic was named the official medical provider for the Florida Tropics, Polk County’s newest Indoor Arena Soccer Team.

In employee news, Administrative Assistant Pamela Cunningham was the November Employee of the Month. The December Employee of the Month was Kimberly Gilley, a Central Referral Clerk in the Business Office. Bond Clinic also welcomed podiatrist Christopher M. Englert, DPM and Samantha White, ARNP to the team.


This past December 1, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, (DOH-Polk), joined local, state, and national partners in recognizing World AIDS Day. It’s a day set aside to honor, remember, and advocate for those who live with or have died from HIV/AIDS. DOH-Polk hosted a World AIDS Day awareness health fair at the Specialty Care Clinic in Bartow with 30 vendors, offering information and resources. The over 120 attendees had access to vision screenings, immunizations, and educational materials. The event culminated with a lunch-and-learn for those in attendance.


In employee news, HOFRMC welcomed Abhijit Manaswi, MD to the Orthopedic Surgery team. Dr. Manaswi has brought orthopedic robotics to Polk County. They also welcomed Dr. Rubayat Rahman MD, MPH, a gastroenterology & hepatology physician, to the Heart of Florida Physician Group Gastroenterology & Liver Care.

Looking ahead in 2017, Heart of Florida Surgery Center will open its doors in early April. The facility will feature a 13,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center in Davenport. It’s the result of a partnership with Florida Regional Medical Center, a group of local surgeons and Compass Surgical Partners. The center will offer a variety of outpatient surgical services.


In an effort to help Central Florida inhabitants enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Davenport and the Lake Wales Medical Center are offering free assistance with enrolling or filling out an application. Those wishing for assistance should call the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center at (800) 353-1380 or the Lake Wales Medical Center at (863) 678- 2734 to make an appointment with a certified assister. Appointments also can be booked online for either location at GetCoveredAmerica.org/connector.

In employee news, LWMC has named Jennifer Huston, RN, MSN as chief nursing officer. Coming from a vice-presidency at a 74-bed hospital in Indiana, Huston has a wide array of experience in the healthcare industry. “Jennifer has a plethora of experience that makes her ideally suited to fill this critical role at our hospital,” said Rebecca Brewer, CEO of Lake Wales Medical Center, in an official statement.

LWMC is also on the lookout for a few good nurses. They held a recruitment fair for registered nurses in October, offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for full-time RNs.

LWMC also handed out its quarterly and monthly awards. Employee of the Quarter was Annette Baldree, RN, from Infection Control. Manager of the Quarter was Serkan Sare, Nutritional Services. Volunteer of the Quarter was Sue Messenger, a volunteer in the Lobby of the hospital’s Hunt Building. Employee of the Month for November was Kaylie Mancil, RN, who also received the Gold Cup Award for outstanding service.


The end of the year was a busy time for Lakeland Regional Health (LRH). In accreditation news, the LRH Heart Center has earned an additional three-year term of accreditation for Adult Transthoracic Echocardiography by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. “This accreditation acknowledges the high standard of patient care our experienced cardiology team provides to the community,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center president and chief medical officer in an official statement.

In employee awards, LRH President and CEO Elaine C. Thompson, PhD, FACHE, has been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s “135 Non-Profit Hospital and Health System CEOs to Know” for the fifth year in a row.

LRH has also opened registration for the third annual Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center Promise Run, presented by Central Florida Eye Associates. Scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 2017, participants can register at PromiseRun.org. The 2016 Promise Run attracted almost 2,600 runners, walkers, and volunteers, and it raised nearly $200,000 for funds for the Hollis Cancer Center.


Micropath Laboratories welcomed William (Bill) Duke as Chief Executive Officer, starting August 1, 2016. Bill Duke brings over 27 years’ worth of experience in the healthcare industry. Evander Boynton, MD, president of MicroPath said, “Bill has a thorough understanding of the needs of our staff and our physicians and laboratory clients that utilize our services.”


In location news, the Better Now health clinic at 395 Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven closed its doors on December 30. The clinic has been staffed by specialist Dr. Jason Saylor, along with medical support team members. Dr. Saylor will continue his practice at both Watson Clinic’s Main Campus and the Highlands Watson Clinic location.

Additionally, the new Watson Clinic Bartow Gynecology center celebrated its opening with an Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on December 14. Watson Clinic Bartow Gynecology offers a wide array of services for women of all ages, including routine gynecologic care and the treatment of more complex issues.

In news on procedures, Watson Clinic’s otolaryngologists (ENT) and facial plastic & reconstructive surgeons will be able to dramatically reduce or eliminate symptoms of chronic sinusitis for patients using a revolutionary in-office procedure: balloon sinuplasty. For chronic sinusitis sufferers who don’t respond to medication, the procedure safely and effectively widens sinus openings, improves breathing, and alleviates pain. Balloon sinuplasty is offered by every member of the Watson Clinic ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery departments.

In awards and achievements, the Watson Clinic credentialing department was awarded a highly coveted two-year recertification by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Additionally, Watson Clinic was also presented with the PATH Excellence in Patient Service Award by United Healthcare, for the clinic’s commitment to providing quality medical care. It is the third year Watson Clinic has earned the recognition.

In new provider news, Watson Clinic welcomed pediatrician Amanda Lueshen Davis, MD, Eric W. Beach, PA-C, and Lindsey N. Wells, PA-C. In awards, the Program for Employee Excellence and Recognition (PEER) Award winner for November was Evelin Reeve, a medical assistant who works alongside board-certified allergy specialist Dr. Lionel Bionini. The PEER Award winner for December was Joan Beck, a special accounts representative in the Patient Financial Services department.

Additionally, Watson Clinic physicians and other healthcare staff members attended, supported, or participated in the 19th Annual Hispanic Festival of Polk County, the annual National Kidney Foundation Walk, and the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Watson Clinic also served as a Silver Sponsor of the 13th Annual Benefit Dinner for Talbot House Ministries and supported the SPCA Florida’s annual Auction for Animals event.


article from CENTRAL FLORIDA DOCTOR staff reports

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