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Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

BELLE GLADE, Fla.—

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Fla., is ad­mit­ting pa­tients this month to a new 70-bed re­place­ment fa­cil­ity in Belle Glade, lo­cated in a ru­ral west­ern sec­tion of the county whose hospi­tal was hard-hit in a 2005 hur­ri­cane. Work on pub­licly owned Lake­side Med­i­cal Cen­ter fin­ished up in Oc­to­ber for about $67 mil­lion—about $6 mil­lion un­der bud­get and nearly four months ahead of sched­ule, the Palm Beach County hospi­tal district said in a news release. The hospi­tal in­cludes 146,000 square feet of floor space and a di­rect con­nec­tion from its emer­gency room to an on-cam­pus he­li­pad in­tended for district air am­bu­lances. Lake­side Med­i­cal Cen­ter re­places 73-bed Glades Gen­eral Hospi­tal, which was built in 1946 and passed through sev­eral for-profit and pub­lic own­ers in re­cent years. The district sold Glades Gen­eral to a pri­vate com­pany in 1998, but reac­quired the fa­cil­ity in 2004 out of a con­cern that the chain was not pro­vid­ing the level of ser­vice needed by the lo­cal com­mu­nity. A year later, Hur­ri­cane Wilma badly dam­aged the hospi­tal, prompt­ing the de­ci­sion to build a re­place­ment us­ing pro­ceeds from pre­vi­ous sales, pub­lic funds and phil­an­thropic do­na­tions.

FORT LAUD­ERDALE, Fla.—

Broward Gen­eral Med­i­cal Cen­ter this month urged more than 1,800 pa­tients to get tested for hepati­tis and HIV af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that one of its nurses had been us­ing sin­gle-use saline bags and tub­ing on mul­ti­ple pa­tients, pos­si­bly for the past five years. The nurse was sus­pended by the 640-bed hospi­tal af­ter a tip was phoned in to the hospi­tal’s com­pli­ance hot-line Sept. 1 re­port­ing that the nurse was seen giv­ing car­diac chem­i­cal stress tests with the same med­i­cal sup­plies on more than one pa­tient. The nurse sub­se­quently re­signed, and a po­lice re­port filed by Broward Gen­eral Med­i­cal Cen­ter CEO James Thaw has led to a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Thaw said. “We are ap­proach­ing this as ag­gres­sively as hu­manly pos­si­ble,” he said. “This is an in­cred­i­bly egre­gious act by one in­di­vid­ual that at this time is in­ex­pli­ca­ble.” The nurse, whose iden­tity was not re­leased by the pub­lic hospi­tal, ad­min­is­tered chem­i­cal car­diac tests in an iso­lated test­ing area to 1,851 pa­tients be­tween Jan­uary 2004 and Septem­ber 2009, ac­cord­ing to hospi­tal records. Each pa­tient has been no­ti­fied by cer­ti­fied mail that they should re­port to a lo­cal lab­o­ra­tory for test­ing, even if they have not felt sick. The tests are be­ing paid for by the hospi­tal.

Lake­side Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Belle Grade, Fla., opened $6 mil­lion un­der bud­get.

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