Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida Baptist Hospital touts $3.8 million renovation

South Florida Baptist Hospital leaders, from left: Jack Vascon-cellos, Steve Nierman and Jim LeHeup stand in the new unit.

Betty Briggs | Special to the Times

South Florida Baptist Hospital leaders, from left: Jack Vascon-cellos, Steve Nierman and Jim LeHeup stand in the new unit.

PLANT CITY — Robotic surgery, neuro-spine care, hyperbaric medicine, advanced heart procedures, and a heliport for quick transfers, services once associated only with hospitals in larger cities, have come to South Florida Baptist Hospital as part of a $3.8 million renovation.

As of Monday, a new 16-bed private medical/surgical "hotel-like" unit at the hospital began receiving patients benefiting from the high-tech services.

During an open house tour last week, Steve Nierman, chief operating officer of the BayCare Health System hospital, stressed that even though the hospital continues to grow, patient experience remains a priority.

"The real challenge is financing — managing with less resources," said Nierman, who has been with the hospital eight years.

Jack Vasconcellos, director of operations, and Jim LeHeup, manager of plant operations, joined Nierman during the tour.

Vasconcellos said nursing and other team members, had direct input in the design of unit rooms, with emphasis on patient and family comfort and safety.

In addition to state-of-the-art medical technology, LeHeup pointed out that the hotel-type private rooms contain several amenities: double walls for quietness, plantation shudders and lights for different levels of comfort, a family zone with a large couch, a 47-inch television and over-sized bathrooms with fold-out shower seats.

Construction of two operating room suites will be completed in summer, and the shell for a 19-bed intensive care unit has been built. Nierman hopes, depending on BayCare's resources and timetable, that unit will be ready for patients in 2014.

Nierman said the additions help complement the hospital's strong community support.

In addition to donations from families, many dating to Plant City's early days, the hospital's foundation has raised $11.5 million.

South Florida Baptist began in 1945 with a $10,000 pledge from the Florida Baptist Convention and hospital trustees signing personal notes to purchase equipment and supplies.

It's now a facility with an $81 million operating budget and an estimated $12.5 million community benefit.

"In all my years in health care, I've never known a community so generous in supporting its local hospital," Nierman said.

Betty Briggs can be reached at

South Florida Baptist Hospital touts $3.8 million renovation 04/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Workers remove cladding from Whitebeam Court in Pendleton, Manchester, on Monday. A type of cladding restricted in other countries has been blamed for the fatal Grenfell Tower blaze.