OCOEE--An impressive gathering of local elected officials, hospital administrators, healthcare providers and curious community folks convened July 7 on the campus of Health Central Hospital in Ocoee to celebrate expanded healthcare services for residents living in "West Orange."
Last month, Health Central opened a newly completed emergency department and began renovating space in the hospital's former emergency department as part of a $13.8 million multi-year improvement project.
"Once the (current emergency department) renovation is completed, the emergency department will have more than tripled in size from 15,000 to 54,000 square feet, and will have another 10 beds for a total of 52 patient exam rooms," said Mark Marsh, president of Health Central Hospital.
A new 40-bed patient tower also opened in July, increasing Health Central's bed count from 171 to 211. The tower aligns with floors 2 to 5 in the existing facility, and adds a 10-room unit to each floor for further development of specialized care. Second floor additions are used for post cardiac and vascular catheterization patients. Third floor additions house a step-down unit for orthopedic patients and an expanded spine program. Fourth floor additions support an oncology unit, providing symptom management for cancer patients. Fifth floor additions are used for pre- and post- general surgery patients with chronic conditions. The remaining 18 rooms mark the elimination of the hospital's semi-private rooms.
"West Orange County residents will soon be able to access more world-class healthcare services in their communities," noted Orlando Health CEO David Strong.
Also, Health Central is adding a 30,000-square-foot comprehensive cancer center while also bolstering its oncology clinical programs and services.
"The current facility, which opened in 2012, reached its expected five-year capacity in its second year, so this new facility is greatly needed," said Mark Roh, MD, president of the UF Health Cancer Center-Orlando Health, noting that every year, 1,200 residents living near Health Central are diagnosed with cancer.
Also on the drawing board: a new 100-bed skilled nursing facility, including 60 beds for rehabilitation and 40 beds for Alzheimer's patients. "One in three people over the age of 85 has Alzheimer's, so it's important to us that we're able to provide this specialized care here in our community," said Ron Milliner, administrator of Health Central Park.
At the Horizon West location, construction will start this fall on a 70,000-square-foot building featuring a freestanding emergency department, outpatient diagnostics and laboratory services, offices for primary care physicians and specialists, and a wellness center. Construction on the Horizon West project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.
"Using telemedicine technology, Horizon West residents will have access to additional pediatric and adult specialists who may be located on any of our other campuses," explained Greg Ohe, senior vice president for ambulatory care for Orlando Health.
Construction on the Ocoee facilities should start later this year, and be completed by the end of 2018.
The West Orange Healthcare District provided $75.2 million this year alone toward the Ocoee project, with a goal of transforming Health Central Hospital into a destination medical campus, bringing the District's investment in the Orlando Health property to $114 million. In 2013, the District awarded Health Central $25 million, and in 2014, $13.8 million toward expansion projects.
"We're honored to contribute to and be part of this project," said District Board Chair Tim Keating. "The board realizes our investment in the healthy future of our community and not only supports the district's mission to enhance health and wellness in West Orange County, but also allows these services to come to our residents sooner."