HCA opened a walk-in clinic in St. Lucie West about a year
ago in a new professional building.
HCAalso purchased in February the Heart and Family
Health Institute across the street from St. Lucie Medical Center.
“We have 23 family physicians and board certified specialists,
and a staff of 144, so you don’t have to go to many different
places to get services,” said institute spokeswoman
Roberta London. “There are just no other practices in the
county that are like ours. We have about 30,000 to 35,000
active patients in any given year.”
St. Lucie Medical Center and HCA’s Lawnwood Regional
Medical Center in Fort Pierce plan to continue their growth
based on community needs, Cantrell said, citing a $22.4 million
expansion at St. Lucie Medical Center that will turn an
entire floor on the north side of the hospital into an orthopedic
unit with operating rooms and about 35 beds. Lawnwood
expanded its emergency room in the summer of 2006.
“St Lucie Medical Center and Lawnwood Regional Medical
Center & Heart Institute have been providing health-care services
in St. Lucie County for many years,” Cantrell said.
“During that time, we have grown along with the community
and thoughtfully expanded our services to meet our area’s
health-care needs.We must continue to ensure that the expansion
of healthcare services in St. Lucie County is done in a
thoughtful manner based on our area’s needs.”
Although there are no immediate plans to expand
St. Lucie Medical’s emergency room, steps have been
taken to reduce wait times, said hospital spokeswoman
“While emergency departments are first and foremost for
patients who truly need care in an emergency setting, we
have successfully reduced wait times in our EDs significantly
while treating more patients than ever,” she said.
A policy change requires that patients who are over the
age of 5 and under the age of 60 who are assessed at the
emergency department by qualified personnel as not needing
emergency care are given a packet of information listing
other care providers who may be able to see them.
Martin Memorial has short wait times at its emergency
room in Stuart, Robitaille said. “Eighty-six percent of
patients are seen by a physician or appropriate medical professional
within 30 minutes or less. Ninety-nine percent are
seen by a physician or appropriate medical professional in 60
minutes or less. We see everyone who comes in the door.”
After the Tradition hospital is built, Martin Memorial administrators
will decide whether to change the St. LucieWest
emergency room into something that fits new needs, he said.
“Healthy competition ensures that hospitals are providing
information on the levels of service that they offer,” said
Rasmussen, spokesman for the Florida Hospital Association,
“and it also helps ensure that they are cost competitive in the
community as well. Competition is great because people
HCA in February purchased the Heart & Family Health Institute, which is comprised of 23 family physicians and board-certified specialists and a staff of
144. The institute is just a block away from HCA’s St. Lucie Medical Center.