What is House Bill 711?
House Bill 711 (PDF) is an amendment to Florida Statute 155.40. The bill, which was signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in April 2012, requires all public hospitals in Florida to commence a one-time evaluation of the possible benefits from the sale or lease of hospital facilities to a not-for-profit or for-profit entity. This evaluation must include a financial valuation and an operating comparison with similarly situated hospitals. The bill mandates every county, district or municipal hospital to have commenced an evaluation of continued ownership of the hospital or hospital system by December 31, 2012. The evaluation is to occur regardless of whether the governing board intends to sell or lease the hospital. There is no requirement to sell or lease the public hospital.
What is the status of Lakeside Medical Center’s evaluation?
Lakeside Medical Center, which is owned and operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and is the county's only public hospital, has completed the evaluation. On February 5th, 2013, in accordance with Section155.40, F.S., the Health Care District of Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners conducted a public hearing at Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade, Florida. An independent, third-party evaluation firm, Health Management Associates, presented the valuation report to the Board for review and discussion. Lakeside Medical Center joins other public hospitals and health systems in Florida, including Broward Health, Halifax Health (PDF) and Memorial Healthcare System, in completing the required evaluation.
Data in the Health Management Associates' report shows Lakeside Medical Center compares favorably with other hospitals in terms of costs and quality of care. The report estimated the fair market financial value of the hospital is zero without Health Care District support. Download the report (PDF).
More than 40 people attended the public hearing, many of them local public officials and key community leaders. All of the 11 people who made public comment were in favor of the hospital remaining a public entity and spoke overwhelmingly to the value of the hospital as a health care safety net in the rural region it serves. After review and discussion, the District Board voted unanimously that it is in the best interest of the affected community for the Health Care District to retain ownership and operation of Lakeside Medical Center and not to sell or lease assets to a third party.
What is the Health Care District of Palm Beach County?
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, which owns and operates Lakeside Medical Center, is an independent taxing district that provides a safety net of health care services, including health coverage programs for uninsured residents, a nationally recognized Trauma System, dedicated nurses in nearly 170 public schools, a pharmacy operation, a long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, and acute care hospital services at Lakeside Medical Center, the county’s only public hospital. Lakeside Medical Center serves the rural western Palm Beach County communities along the southeastern shore of Lake Okeechobee.
What type of population does Lakeside Medical Center serve?
Lakeside Medical Center is a 70-bed acute-care hospital serving the large agricultural region of western Palm Beach County popularly known as "the Glades." Lakeside Medical Center, which is owned and operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, opened its doors in 2009 when it replaced Glades General Hospital. The Joint Commission-accredited hospital features up-to-date medical equipment and all-private patient rooms. Lakeside Medical Center is the only public hospital in the county and the only acute-care hospital in the Glades. This region has a higher poverty and unemployment rate than other areas of the county. Chronic conditions, like diabetes, asthma and obesity, are disproportionately prevalent in this region, which has been designated as a medically underserved area. The next closest hospital is nearly 30 miles to the east. The hospital treats 38,000 patients a year. Last year nearly 3,000 patients - that is, about one in ten residents of the region - were admitted to the hospital; more than 22,000 were treated in the Emergency Room, and another 13,000 were treated as outpatients.
What are Lakeside Medical Center’s key programs and services?
Lakeside Medical Center offers a 24-hour physician staffed emergency room, inpatient and outpatient services, obstetrics, pediatrics, general surgery, radiology (including CT, MRI/ MRA, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, and mammography), and respiratory therapy.
- Family Medicine. Our primary care doctors provide care for residents and their families, based on first-hand knowledge of the community and its special needs. In July 2011, in partnership with Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Palm Beach County Health Department, and other community organizations, the hospital inaugurated a new Family Medicine Residency Program for a total of 15 resident physicians. The first class of residents graduates in 2013. The hospital is a member of the Consortium for Excellence in Medical Education.
- Women's Health. The Women's Health Services include primary care, maternal and child care, bone densitometry, and technologically advanced digital mammography for earlier detection of breast cancer.
- Neonatal and Pediatrics. A dedicated team of specialists provide neonatal and pediatric hospitalist services on site, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
How does Lakeside Medical Center compare to other hospitals nationally in the areas of patient satisfaction and quality?
In 2011 the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems recognized Lakeside Medical Center for achieving above-average scores in patient satisfaction, including the highest possible scores in five out of ten areas. In 2012 The Joint Commission designated Lakeside Medical Center a "Top Performer on Key Quality MeasuresTM in 2011" for surgical care and for treating heart failure and pneumonia. Only 18 percent of the over 3,400 hospitals in the nation that reported their data to The Joint Commission received the “Top Performer” designation.