Homestead Hospital move into new facility a smooth one
By Ted Carter
Three baby deliveries, a patient count of 100 and a packed emergency room made for a seemingly routine afternoon Sunday at Homestead Hospital.
But the afternoon marked a milestone for the hospital's physicians and staff. They had just shut down the 67-year-old Homestead Hospital facility at 160 NW 13th St. and opened a spanking new one on a 60-acre campus at at Campbell Drive and Southwest 147th Avenue, moving the last patient over by 11:45 a.m.
Moving day started with a 6 a.m. opening of the new emergency room with a simultaneous closing of the old one.
Staff moved the first patients at 8 a.m. "We took the mothers in labor first," said Gail Gordon, vice president and chief nursing officer.
Next came newborns and their mothers.
Patients from the intensive-care unit were the last to go. Ms. Gordon oversaw that end of the operation.
"I was on the receiving end" at the new hospital, CEO Bill Duquette said.
Spending his first full day at the new Homestead Hospital after 16 years at the old one, Mr. Duquette reflected on the precision of the move. "It went better than I could have dreamed," he said Monday.
To make it happen, the hospital's approximately 800 employees had to give up vacations and spring breaks over the past month, Ms. Gordon said. "There's been a lot of pizza deliveries over here."
Moving day is over, but the growth of the hospital campus has just begun, representatives say. Baptist Health of South Florida sees the spacious new home of 388,000 square feet as the start of an expansion expected to increase Homestead Hospital's patient rooms from 120 to 300 over the next 10 years, Ms. Gordon said.
While the building now is five stories tall, it has been constructed to accommodate a sixth floor.
More immediately, Baptist Health will convert the third floor of an attached medical-arts building to patient rooms, Ms. Gordon said. The floor will have 27 patient beds, she said. "It's supposed to come online in the next nine months."
The rooms that went on line Sunday are private.
Mr. Duquette said making each room private helped the hospital meet state standards for patient space. But it's gratifying nonetheless to know each patient is enjoying privacy, he said. "It's tremendous."
To make space for the private rooms and wider spaces throughout the $135 million medical campus, something had to give — and staff office space did. "We wanted to put the space where the patients are," Ms. Gordon said.