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.