On the Pulse: World-renowned surgeon joins heart institute

A world-renowned pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Tom Karl, has joined the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute in St. Petersburg, expanding its surgery program.

Dr. Karl served as professor of surgery, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and director of research at University of Queensland, Australia. His areas of surgical expertise include all aspects of pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery and intensive care, including neonatal heart surgery, cardiopulmonary transplantation, circulatory support, valve surgery, and repairs for complex adult congenital heart diseases.

Dr. Karl also serves as an associate editor and editorial board member for Cardiology in the Young, the leading medical journal worldwide dedicated to the care of patients with pediatric and congenital heart disease. The journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Jeffrey Jacobs, also works as a cardiothoracic surgeon at All Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Karl is one of six surgeons in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Heart Surgery program, a collaboration that includes All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and Florida Hospital in Orlando. e Johns Hopkins Children’s Heart Surgery program is one of the largest nationwide, with surgeons performing more than 1,000 pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic operations annually. The program also us the only one in the Tampa Bay area publicly reporting outcomes for pediatric cardiac care procedures.

The institute recently centralized all complex heart surgeries in the Tampa Bay area at All Children’s Hospital’s St. Petersburg location to better serve children who need complex cardiac surgery. All Children’s Hospital ranked No. 34 nationwide for cardiology and heart surgery; it is the only pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program to rank in the Tampa Bay area.

In other news, the American Board of Pediatrics approved All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine as a portfolio sponsor for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), helping local physicians stay up to date on the latest medical developments through board certification. As a sponsor organization, it will help local physicians earn MOC part 4 credits for board recertification if they participate in one of three quality-improvement projects submitted and approved with the portfolio application.

The three quality improvement projects include decreasing asthma readmissions and emergency department visits within one year of a hospitalization or emergency room visit for asthma, Dr. Dipti Amin, project lead; improving clinical outcomes of very low birth weight infants through early standardized nutritional management, Dr. Fauzia M. Shakeel, project lead; and Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) standardization, Dr. Shakeel, project lead.

The portfolio sponsor program helps organizations streamline the approval process. All Children’s Hospital is one of 36 organizations in the United States selected as a portfolio sponsor, and the only site selected as a sponsor on the west coast of Florida. “Being selected as a site sponsor will allow All Children’s Hospital to promote the highest quality care and outcomes for patients in our region by encouraging local physicians to participate in these quality initiatives,” says Dr. Brigitta Mueller, vice president of Medical Affairs and chief safety officer.

Physicians can learn more about joining All Children’s Hospital’s quality improvement projects at the American Board of Pediatrics portfolio website: www.abp.org.

In other area medical news:


Pulse_MorePix_Jan2015The Winter Haven-based Bond Clinic has opened an Urgent Care Department at 500 E. Central Avenue, Steele Building. It is accepting walk-in patients from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to physicals, treatment is offered for bladder infections, earaches and sore throats, small lacerations, sports injuries, upper respiratory infections, and more. More information is available by calling (863) 293-1191, ext. 3693.

Newly hired staff include Amy Dudney, an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) leading the Urgent Care Department; and Barry Cayson, also an ARNP, who is working with Dr. Panagiotis Lakovidis in vascular and thoracic surgery.

In other Bond Clinic news, the 2014 Employee of the Year was Diane Blackburn, originally selected as the February Employee of the Month. She works as a pre-surgery collector in the Business Office at the clinic’s Avenue B location.


The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (FDOH-Polk) has launched the Florida Health Cleans Up! project in support of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) roadside litter prevention media campaign “Drive It Home … Keep Our Paradise Litter Free.”

In addition, FDOH-Polk is participating in the city of Bartow’s Adopt-a-Park Program to help maintain a clean park environment for residents and visitors.

Florida Health Cleans Up! is a venture of Healthiest Weight Florida, a public-private collaboration between state agencies, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and entire communities to help Floridians make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. The department’s goal is to encourage physical activity and walking while emphasizing how small choices affect your health and the environment. More information about Healthiest Weight Florida and Florida Health Cleans Up! is available at www.HealthiestWeightFL.com.


Robert Brown has joined Lake Wales Medical Center (LWMC) as director of Patient Relations. Brown has 30 years of experience building successful customer relations. He will be spearheading ongoing efforts to become more patient-focused, identifying systems and processes that can be adjusted to improve patient experience.

LWMC employees adopted 12 families in the community this year for Christmas, providing gifts for 38 area children and their parents. “Our employees do a wonderful job throughout the year of taking care of our patients as if they were family, and during the holidays our staff looks forward to being able to give back even more in this special way,” says Andrew Howard, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

Annual employee awards were given during the hospital’s annual holiday party. Winners included Monica Pryce, Employee of the Year; Dr. Kulmeet Kundlas, Physician of the Year; Julie Sing, Non-Clinical Manager of the Year; Nancy Kovencz, Clinical Manager of the Year; and Mandi Dunaway, Tierra Patterson, Bradley Perez, Erin Albrecht, and Goolcharan Ramdeen, Community Cares Star Performers.


The Lakeland-based Watson Clinic has been reaccredited for another three years by the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAAHC). “Accreditation distinguishes our clinic from many other outpatient facilities by providing the highest quality of care to patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation,” says Dr. Louis S. Saco, the clinic’s chief executive officer. “This also confirms the care our patients receive is on par with the finest medical institutions across the country.” To be accredited, outpatient facilities undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors—physicians, nurses, and administrators actively involved in ambulatory health care. “They were all greatly impressed with Watson Clinic’s staff, our commitment to advancing technology, and our patient-centered approach to health care,” he says.

AAAHC is the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation with more than 5,000 organizations accredited nationwide. It serves as an advocate for the provision of high-quality healthcare through the development of nationally recognized standards and through its survey and accreditation programs.

Additionally, Watson’s Credentialing Department recently earned recertification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The two-year certification acknowledges organizations that establish the highest quality standards in their credentialing practices following a rigorous review of policies, filing practices, and quality improvement measures. Watson Clinic’s Credentialing Department works to verify physicians’ qualifications, education record, various licenses, and their ability to perform the services for which they are hired.

In other Watson Clinic news, Dr. Audrey E. Jain joined the team of psychiatrists, serving patients at its South location. Dr. Jain received her doctor’s degree in osteopathic medicine from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale. She did her psychiatry internship and residency at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Jain will focus her practice on psychiatric services for adults. She is a Polk County Medical Association (PCMA) member.

Watson Clinic’s Program for Employee Excellence and Recognition (PEER) Awards went to Carrie DeArce, an administrative specialist for Dr. William Roth in Dermatology, for November, and to Sandy Osterman, a laboratory assistant in the Histology Lab, for December.


BayCare is offering a free Heart Health Screening from 8 a.m. through 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at Winter Haven Hospital. The screening includes blood pressure, body mass index, blood sugar, and lipids. The event is free, but preregistration is required. Call (855) 546-6304 for more information.

The Caregivers Support Group is meeting from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. January 9 at the WHH Wellness Center Conference Room, 200 Avenue F NE, Winter Haven. The event is free and no registration is required. Call (863) 291-6095 for more information.

The Memory Clinic Caregiver Support Group will gather from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on January 9 at WHH’s Center for Behavioral Health, 1201 1st Street South, Winter Haven. This event also is free; no registration is required. For more information, call (863) 293-1121, ext. 5744.



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