Friday, July 20, 2018
Health

Suncoast adds to Brandon's burgeoning health care expansion

BRANDON — Amid a handful of medical care centers popping up in the Brandon area, the newly built Suncoast Community Health Center of Brandon aims to stand out with a focus on pediatric dentistry.

The 32,000-square-foot facility on Lakewood Drive had a soft opening in March, boasting of multifaceted divisions of women's health and adult primary care.

But Suncoast Community Health Centers' CEO Bradley Herremans points to the Pediatric Center of Excellence which includes a pediatric dentistry residency program, adolescent behavioral health care and pediatric optometry as keys for the facility.

"We've been going to Head Start programs and RCMA (Redlands Christian Migrant Association) programs for years so we'd been doing services for the kids and what we started finding out was that it was very difficult to get a referral for these children for pediatric dentistry," Herremans said. "We tried to refer to pediatric dentists in the area and there were some that took Medicaid, but their capacity in what they could take was really limited. They could only take three or four patients and we had like 950 on a waiting list."

After partnering with New York University to start a pediatric dental residency program at their Palm River location, Herremans discovered that the need far outgrew the facility and the decision to move to a larger, more centralized location was made to accommodate all of their patients in surrounding areas of Dover, Ruskin and Plant City.

In separate conversations, Herremans recalls teaming with Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman to push for integration of behavioral health into primary care.

"When I was in the Air Force doing health care there we saw it on the adult level and the children's level, too, that we were having a lot of patients that were coming in for primary care and we were finding that about 30 or 35 per cent of the time, these diagnoses were almost like a secondary diagnosis to a behavioral or mental health discussion that nobody was addressing," Herremans said. "So you'd take care of the medical aspect of it, but if you don't take care of the root cause, many times you're just going to end up in the same situation down the road or even worse."

With a high need for affordable care in these departments, particularly for low-income and migrant families, Suncoast Community Health decided that convenience of a one-stop-shop would help the entire community.

"We thought, 'Okay, well, we're integrating our primary care doctors and our behavioral specialists so why don't we add to that pediatric dentistry? Let's put that all under one roof and let's see what happens,'" Herremans said. "I'll tell you right now at least initially, the results are absolutely amazing. We're getting very good feedback from the parents and we're getting very good feedback from the practitioners here."

In the first two weeks of being open, the pediatric dentistry program had approximately 80 patients — nearly double the amount of regular patients seen at the Palm River location.

For clinic administrator Christina Castillo, a seven-year employee of Suncoast Community Health Centers, having a unique set of services under one roof, including having five Affordable Care enrollment specialists on-site, makes a world of difference in how they can better serve eastern Hillsborough.

"We are patient centered and take the extra mile to help our patients get the care they need and deserve," Castillo said. "A family consists of various age ranges. Our care focuses on each of these stages in one location."

Looking ahead, Suncoast Community Health believes that Brandon will remain the best, and most centralized location to provide their multiple services. There is potential to expand into Thonotosassa and Wimauma, but for now the focus and excitement surrounds the new Brandon location, which celebrates its grand opening April 21.

"It is rewarding to be able to offer the community these services under one roof," said Castillo. "We take pride in the services we offer and I find it very rewarding to see patients get more than what they expected from our team."

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at [email protected]

Comments
When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

When suicide threats come calling: ‘I try to make a connection.’

TAMPA — At first glance, it’s a typical office with more than a dozen cubicles under florescent lights. The operators wear headsets and stare into computer screens, some tinkering with handheld toys, others browsing Facebook or chatting with colleagu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

In the few weeks before school starts, experts offer tips on getting ready mentally and physically

By the second week of August, public schools will be back in session across the Tampa Bay area. That may seem far off, but sleep experts say now is when parents need to start easing the kids (and themselves) into those early wakeup routines. The foll...
Published: 07/20/18
Sarasota man dies from infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters

Sarasota man dies from infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters

A Sarasota man died of an infectious bacteria after eating raw oysters.The bacteria, called Vibrio vulnificus, is often associated with eating raw or under-cooked shellfish or entering into warm coastal waters with exposed wounds.The 71-year-old Sara...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18
Soy, almond ‘milk’ don’t come from a cow, so they may soon be called ‘drinks’

Soy, almond ‘milk’ don’t come from a cow, so they may soon be called ‘drinks’

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks don’t come from cows, so regulators may soon ask them to stop calling themselves "milk." The Food and Drug Administration is signaling that it plans to start enforcing a federal standard that defines "milk" as coming ...
Published: 07/18/18
Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

Florida nursing homes have enough staff, numbers show. But the state has shortages in other areas.

In most places across America, nursing homes are facing an acute shortage of workers to take care of the country’s growing population of aging and disabled patients. But not in Florida. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this month found tha...
Published: 07/17/18
So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

So far, so good. Doctors at Tampa General find success with a device that fights often-fatal aneurysms

TAMPA — Dr. Murray Shames holds a flexible, lightweight tube as wide as two garden hoses pushed together in his office at Tampa General Hospital. The polyester tube, and its thinner fastening branches with metal wiring, will be attached inside someon...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/16/18
Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

Sunday Conversation: Sherry Hoback looks to move Tampa Family Health Centers to the next level

TAMPA — Taking over for an administrator who has run a company for almost 20 years can be daunting. • But Sherry Hoback prepared for some time to replace Charles Bottoms as CEO of the Tampa Family Health Centers, a non-profit organization that operat...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/15/18
How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

How can City Hall improve our health? A new push in Pinellas hopes to show the way.

The charitable organization that owns a 20 percent stake in St. Petersburg’s Bayfront Health hospital is working with local governments to improve the public’s health, part of a strategy to make a difference in new and often subtle ways. The Foundati...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

New York organ collection agency, nation’s second-largest, threatened with closure

The government is threatening to close one of the country’s largest "organ procurement organizations" for poor performance, a rare move against a nonprofit group that collects kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs used in transplantation.In a lett...
Published: 07/11/18
Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

Retirement communities turn their sights on a once-invisible group: LGBT seniors

In 2016, as Kenneth MacLean was about to turn 90 and was looking to move to a retirement community, he had a question for Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland."I asked, ‘Would there be many gays here? Would gays be welcomed?’ " MacLean,...
Published: 07/09/18