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Hernando County hospitals team up with UF, Shands

BROOKSVILLE — Two Hernando County hospitals that treat cardiac and stroke emergencies now have an additional resource to call upon for patients in immediate need of a higher level of care.

Officials from Brooksville Regional and Spring Hill Regional hospitals say they have formed a partnership with the University of Florida and Shands HealthCare that will offer access to state-of-the-art services for critically ill heart and stroke patients.

"The community is going to benefit greatly from this," said Brooksville Regional chief executive officer Patrick Mahoney. "It's going to allow us to take advantage of resources that were often difficult to come by before."

Both hospitals, which are owned by Health Management Associates of Naples, are nationally accredited chest pain centers, and both are certified as primary stroke facilities. Like many community hospitals, however, they lack advanced equipment such as high-resolution three-dimensional CT scanners and the specialized staff of larger medical facilities.

Mahoney said that although both hospitals have routinely transferred patients to other advanced diagnostic and treatment centers, there was sometimes a question about which facility could take a patient, causing delays in treatment. That will no longer be the case, said Spring Hill Regional chief executive officer Alex Contreras-Soto. Patients at both hospitals will have priority at Shands.

Critically ill patients can be transported by helicopter to the Shands emergency unit in about 15 minutes. In addition, physicians at Brooksville Regional and Spring Hill Regional will be able to teleconference with Shands specialists whenever needed.

"It's going to make it easier to get accurate diagnoses for our patients," Contreras-Soto said.

The alliance is the first for the University of Florida and Shands. In addition to the two Hernando hospitals, the partnership also includes Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center in Crystal River and Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Polk County. Both are also owned by HMA.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

Hernando County hospitals team up with UF, Shands 05/01/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 5:30am]
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