OCOEE — Members of the staffs of Orlando Health and Health Central Hospital gathered with members of the community April 1 in the hospital lobby to celebrate three years of partnership.
“We’re here to mark a milestone in the continued history of Health Central,” Health Central President Greg Ohe said. “It’s actually amazing that it’s been three years. It has gone fast in many regards, but if you look back at the accomplishments of this organization, we’ve achieved a lot in three years.”
Ohe credited former Health Central President Dr. Richard Irwin with leading Health Central into its partnership with Orlando Health.
“The efforts that we made to choose our partner, Orlando Health, was a good one,” Irwin said. “If you take a look at the continued improvement in our patient-satisfaction scores, in our quality scores and in the familiar faces here, you can see it really was a great partnership.”
Orlando Health Interim CEO Dr. Jamal Hakim said Orlando Health officials had been considering something bigger than anything they had done before, noting accomplishments of the partnership since it became formal in 2012.
Health Central is among the top few percent of U.S. hospitals in processes of care and has had an A grade from The Leapfrog Group in the past five — soon to be six — reporting periods as Orlando Health’s top performer in that regard, Hakim said.
“Health Central has an accredited chest-pain center, saving lives and improving the outcome of heart attacks every day,” he said. “The primary stroke prevention program here is outstanding and offers a service this community did not have before.”
Oncology, improved finances and a maturation of the relationships with the West Orange Healthcare District and the community were among other additions and improvements Hakim mentioned.
“The expectation that this community has for this hospital is being met currently, and we are extremely proud of that,” he said.
Health Central is also one of 44 U.S. hospitals to exceed performance on evidence-based interventions that improve healthy result odds for patients with certain conditions, according to the hospital’s reports.
Hakim also mentioned how the hospital’s expansion would lead to a new emergency room and a bed tower that would cause the elimination of semi-private rooms in lieu of more private rooms and specialized-care beds.
Health Central COO Rick Smith said the expansion project was moving as planned, starting with the central energy plan, which includes all the infrastructure of the tower, such as generators, and allows for redundancies the hospital has not had.
“We’re changing out older equipment for new equipment and then adding increased capacity for the campus, as well,” Smith said. “That effort actually started back in December, and it’s going along very much on target — in fact, it’s almost complete. As we come to the next 90 days or so, change out a couple of cooling towers and some chillers, probably by the May timeframe of this year, we’ll be complete with that.”
The major construction phase will begin after that, including more activity on the side of the hospital, Smith said.
“What you’ll be seeing next is the infrastructure — the water, the sewage, things like that — go underground as we prepare the side,” he said. “Probably in the next 30 days or so, pilings, footings for the structure itself will start being put in. We’re pretty much right on schedule — still looking at that May 2016 timeframe — to actually occupy the new (emergency department) and the bed tower on top.”
At that time, crews will return to the current emergency department and renovate that space from May to October 2016, when the project will be complete, Smith said.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].