Twenty years ago this month, HealthPark Medical Center opened its doors to our community. The second hospital location for Lee Memorial Health System, HealthPark Medical Center offered 220 patient beds, comprehensive outpatient services, a 24/7 emergency department, space for 60 physician offices, and greater accessibility to health care for an area of Lee County that was quickly growing. A major focus on cardiac, plus women and children’s services was a part of the grand opening.
Over the past two decades, HealthPark Medical Center has grown significantly. Today it houses The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida—the only nationally accredited children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami—which includes a high-risk obstetrical and neonatal program that has among the best outcomes in Florida, and an impressive array of specialty children’s care, including cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, and so much more like music therapy and outreach child advocacy throughout Southwest Florida. HealthPark Medical Center also has the only accredited Chest Pain Center in Southwest Florida, extensive leading-edge technology, and thousands of caring staff, physicians and volunteers.
In addition to providing access to vital medical care for more of our community, another goal of HealthPark Medical Center was to provide complex health care services in an inviting atmosphere, administered by competent, compassionate and caring people. Our mission is the same today, and we are blessed with nearly 1,600 employees, a medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians, and 1,000 volunteers working at HealthPark Medical Center. Of those 1,600 employees, 111 have worked at HealthPark Medical Center since it opened. They recall, as do I, the challenge of moving patients from Lee Memorial Hospital to HealthPark Medical Center, which was again repeated more recently with the move from Southwest Florida Regional to Gulf Coast Medical Center.
The name “HealthPark” came from trying to explain to the media and the public our vision for what was initially 242 acres and quickly grew to 402 acres. Industrial parks were common in those days, as were planned neighborhoods. The easiest way we thought to describe this new “community” was with the term “health”—meaning more than “medical”—and “park”—meaning more than a retail shopping center. Portions of the land had been converted from gladiolus fields to cucumber and potato fields. Some even thought the design of HealthPark Medical Center—with the large open atrium—was just in case the hospital failed, it could be turned into a nice hotel. Reality: That is a rumor, and it was never true!
Through the years—with the construction of Medical Plaza One, the Outpatient Center at HealthPark Commons, additional physician offices, HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center (our skilled nursing facility), Hope Hospice corporate offices and inpatient facilities, and the impressive full-service independent, skilled and assisted care facilities of Cypress Cove—our vision became a reality. Today, with our region-wide “Gift of a Lifetime” campaign to expand The Children’s Hospital as America’s Newest Children’s Hospital underway, we will continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing health care needs of our community.
Our accomplishments through the years are due in large part to our dedicated team. Whether employed since the beginning or new to HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Health System, our staff is integral to our success. In fact, HealthPark Medical Center could not function without support from highly talented, caring individuals throughout Lee Memorial Health System.