Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center is celebrating its 15th anniversary of providing quality care for Polk County residents and area tourists alike at its current location on Highway 27. Operated by Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA), which has seventy hospitals in non-urban locations across multiple states, Heart of Florida has evolved from a 51-bed facility to a 193-bed facility complete with comprehensive health care services. Priority service lines and specialty sites include bariatric surgery, cardiac services, Center For Day Surgery, clinical laboratory services, da Vinci® robotic surgery, diagnostic imaging, emergency department, Orthopedic and Joint Replacement Center, Designated Stroke Center, therapy and rehabilitation center, pediatrics and Center for Women’s Health..
“Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center has grown considerably to meet the demands of our community, covering Polk County and the four corners area. Advancements in technology aid our medical teams in offering a magnitude of care options for patients,” said Don Breeding, Chief Executive Officer. “Last year, we treated 81,000 patients including approximately 50,000 emergency room visits.”
Breeding joined the executive leadership team at Heart of Florida in 2008 as the Chief Nursing Officer, offering more than thirty years of hospital-based nursing and administrative expertise. After being named CEO in 2011, Breeding’s leadership paired well with the talent of the hospital’s nearly 200 physicians and hundreds of other clinical and staff positions. Recent performance awards validate this superior partnership and the collaborative commitment to provide high quality, compassionate healthcare services.
“Of Polk County’s five hospitals, Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center was named as the top-ranking hospital in the Lakeland/Winter Haven metropolitan area in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011-2012 Best Hospitals rankings,” said Breeding. Then, earlier this year, Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center was highlighted as the sole Polk County hospital to receive an A grade delivered by The Leapfrog Group on its Hospital Safety Score report. “The Leapfrog distinction helped authenticate that we are hitting on all cylinders for our patients and their families, ensuring not only their safety but proper and effective treatment plans. Overall, we aspire to be servant leaders providing compassionate and quality care.” Breeding says among the many service lines, he sees great potential for growth in a number of programs, including: cardiology (which recently added a third cath lab), joint replacement, pediatric unit (lead by a skilled pediatric hospitalist), and the recently expanded Center for Women’s Health.
Center for Women’s Health
Following a six-month development phase, Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center recently unveiled its $9.5 million expansion into the fifth floor which added 35 new hospital rooms and equipment upgrades. Open since June 24th, all 31,000 square feet of the new fifth floor is dedicated to the Center for Women’s Health. The space includes 10 large birthing suites, 20 post-partum beds, an expanded nursery (triple the previous space), two dedicated operating rooms, and a unique HUGS® security system.
“We’ve created our niche for women’s health care to offer preventive services, diagnostic testing and treatment for health issues at all ages and all stages of life,” explains Breeding.
The Center for Women’s Health provides obstetrics care with a unique feminine touch catering to all needs of mommy and baby. Plus, the facility offers a broad range of gynecology services including da Vinci® robotics-assisted surgery, hormone therapy and menopausal care, incontinence and urogynecology, family planning, infertility treatments, and breast health, including digital mammograms, MRI, ultrasound and stereotactic needle biopsies, and bone density screenings.
“We are fortunate to have state-of-the-art equipment in our innovative Center for Women’s Health to benefit work flow and of course patient care,” explains Lisa Bishop, RNC, BSN, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, adding that building architects accounted for extra space to accommodate usage and storage of large medical robotic devices. “We have spacious, private patient rooms, as well as private waiting areas. These details are appreciated by patients and families and accommodate the diverse patient populations visiting our hospital. There is a great difference between families waiting for a baby’s arrival to those awaiting surgery completions from other gynecological procedures.”
The Center for Women’s Health offers pregnancy services including Childbirth Education Classes and the CuddleBugs® maternity program, a free platform designed to provide answers for new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery, and guidance on newborn care. Bishop says the hospital delivers approximately 90 to 100 babies per month.
“We recently rolled out a new VIP Package to enhance the memorable delivery experience. It’s simply a little something special to reward and pamper new mommies and daddies during their hospital stay,” said Bishop. The optional $200 plan provides new parents with a welcome basket, robe and slipper socks, scrubs for the birthing coach, upgraded bath products and linens, celebration dinner for two on day of delivery, candlelight dinner the day of discharge, memento blanket and infant onesie, luggage tag/diaper bag tag, refrigerator in each suite, free baby photo package, and concierge support to schedule OB/Pediatric appointments. “The satisfaction of the birthing experience is surely improving here at our maternity ward.”
In addition to the emotional support and instruction of the licensed lactation consultant, parents truly value the added security – both physically and emotionally – of the special Hugs® security system. “This safety component is a lightweight bracelet worn by the baby during the duration of their hospital stay. It monitors skin contact on the newborn; therefore it won’t be prematurely removed. Plus, it causes the hospital doors to close and lock if the child is carried too close to an exit,” describes Breeding.
Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center partners with the skilled providers from Heart of Florida OB/GYN Associates on many basic woman care services available through the Center for Women’s Health. In fact, the Heart of Florida women’s program was reintroduced to the community almost fifteen years ago with the help of the OB/GYN practice co-founder Mark Alkass, M.D., an obstetrician with residency training from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. This team has grown to include five OB/GYN physicians, two midwives, and a nursing staff with three office locations in Davenport, Lake Wales and Winter Haven. At that time, Dr. Alkass says he and his associates delivered just 100 babies annually and now deliver well over 1,000 newborns annually.
“It’s exciting to see our comprehensive obstetrics and gynecological services expand and encompass a fully dedicated floor for our female patients,” said Dr. Alkass, who personally treats over 5,000 gynecological cases each year. He says that gynecologic surgery using da Vinci® robotics has been a welcome advancement to better serve both patient and physician. “It’s not a ‘one tool fits all’ for patients, yet the majority of our patients do receive improved outcomes with fewer risks or complications by opting for robotics assisted treatments,” says Dr. Alkass, a certified da Vinci® trained surgeon who has completed over 100 da Vinci® robotic surgeries. “As a physician, the robotics assistance has great impact on level of fatigue during surgery.”
Some robotic assisted procedures performed by Dr. Alkass have included hysterectomy, myomectomy, endometriosis resection, and sacrocolpopexy. According to Dr. Alkass, the da Vinci® tool delivers precision and control thanks to three robotic arms, a camera, and 3D magnifier. Depending on the procedure, the technique shortens hospital stays to usually allow next-day discharge for patients (and in some cases day of surgery release).
The Center for Women’s Health is committed to providing complete health care options for patients of all ages, and in all stages of life.
With the Center for Women’s Health physically transitioned completely to the fifth floor of Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, space has freed up to expand other departments including the pediatric unit which provides care for children birth through age 21.
“We’ve grown into a 14-room pediatric unit,” said Natalia M. Wetterer, M.D., who has served as the pediatric hospitalist at Heart of Florida for two years, following her residency at St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond in Staten Island, New York. “We typically average six to eight pediatric patients per day, but often reach ten pediatric patients daily.” Dr. Wetterer said that word-of-mouth satisfaction has truly been the (most effective) unsolicited grassroots marketing tool to increase the quantity of pediatric visits, and thus, expansion was a necessity of this welcomed growth. “We treat a variety of pediatric ailments such as asthma, gastroenteritis, orthopedics, ENT, and so on.”
Dr. Wetterer says she has been charged with establishing partnerships with referring physicians and conducts speaking engagements. However, her main role is to serve as the primary care taker of all pediatrics patients. “I am the first and often the main point of contact for families upon arrival and throughout their child’s treatment stay. That typically means identifying the appropriate hospital specialists if needed, and serving as the communications channel for both our medical teams and patient families.”
Dr. Wetterer says the hospital is bringing a fresh, kid-friendly look to the pediatrics unit. “This detail may seem secondary, but with pediatric patients typically staying one to three days to complete treatments, we need a welcoming environment for their comfort.”
“Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center is just the right size, giving patients extra space for comfort with great personalized services,” said Lisa Bishop. “Polk County is a huge region but our geographic location provides convenient access for the community. It’s a hometown feel.”
Article by Nancy DeVault, Staff Writer
40100 Highway 27
Davenport, FL 33837
Phone: (863) 422-4971
Phone: (863) 419-BABY
Explore Online Services
Visit www.HeartOfFlorida.com for unique
and convenient features such as:
• Upcoming events
• Online nursery
• Patient e-cards
• Bill pay services
• Link to Cuddlebugs®
See www.WomensHealthAtHOF.com for additional options, including:
• Pregnancy calculator
• Health library
• Provider biographies
• Center for Women’s Health services