We may be in a recession. But if your son breaks his arm jumping off a swing set or your great aunt falls and breaks her hip, you still need medical care. To help in these situations and others, Hernando County hospitals continue to expand their offerings to bring specialized care closer to home.
"We have been working to establish (Spring Hill Regional) as the women's and pediatric hospital of Hernando County, said CEO Alex Contreras-Soto. "To do that, we have to create the service lines direct to that population."
Getting more pediatric services has long been an unmet need in Hernando.
Highly specialized physicians can be difficult to find, and many are attracted to metropolitan areas. After a long search, Yazan Said, a pediatric pulmonologist, was recently recruited to serve the county's youngest patients suffering with lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis or severe pneumonia.
In the past, 70 percent of Spring Hill Regional's transfers were for pulmonary care, usually to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa, Contreras-Soto said.
"Now we can keep them here near family," he said.
In the near future, Spring Hill Regional plans to open a pediatric emergency room, staffed with board-certified pediatric emergency room physicians.
"We have the space," Contreras-Soto said. "It's all about improving quality."
A few miles down the road, improved quality is also on the minds of folks at Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill, where a 115-ton crane reaches 280 feet into the sky. An expansion of the hospital's cardiac unit is under way and will continue for the next year.
The $6.5 million expansion will add 20 rooms to Oak Hill's Heart Institute, increasing the hospital's capacity to 234 beds.
When complete, the project will fully integrate cardiovascular services on one floor.
Oak Hill is also engaged in a variety of technological projects, with the goal of providing round-the-clock access to electronic medical records to enhance patient care, said Richard Linkul, marking director for Oak Hill.
In addition, Oak Hill recently opened a Subway restaurant on the first floor to provide additional healthful meal options, Linkul said.
Near the center of the county, Brooksville Regional Hospital — owned by the same company as Spring Hill Regional — has also been working to expand its services. The hospital recently added a full range of neurosurgical options and continues to grow.
"In 2010 we'll be offering noncardiac thoracic surgery," CEO Corey Lively said. This will allow the hospital to perform surgical procedures that pertain to the lungs, diaphragm and the chest wall.
Lively said Brooksville Regional is particularly proud of the expansion of its cardiac line, its hospital-based sleep clinic, and its cardiac and pulmonary and diabetic rehabilitation programs.
"We are looking to grow in the services we offer, with the primary goal being patient outcomes in both the clinical and satisfaction arenas," Lively said.
Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at email@example.com.