Lehigh Regional Medical Center located in Lehigh Acres, Florida
is an 88-bed facility, accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Presently, the medical center serves a five-county area. For many years, the center has helped the community with their top notch health care facility and highly qualified physicians. However, Lehigh Regional failed to attract paying patients and the administrators believe that moving to a new health center in southeast Lee County would give it hope.
Every year, Lehigh Regional serves about 36,000 patients in its emergency room and most of them are uninsured. Less than ten percent of their patients stay for inpatient care. Although the hospital has a capacity of 88 beds, the standard census is usually half of that.
Based on the report of Frank Gluck of news-pres.com, the hospital officials said that if Lehigh Acres property management team and the city would approve the move of the hospital to a new health center, the ER and some outpatient services would remain. Officials also said that no layoffs would happen with the move.
According to Joanie Jeannette, the CEO of Lehigh Regional Medical Center, the hospital has no plans to totally abandon the community. They will continue to uphold their mission which can be summarized into three words - service, compassion and commitment.
Although there is still no definite location, Lehigh Regional Medical Center's CEO said that the new site would probably be near Interstate 75. On Monday, the hospital sent a letter to the state officials informing them of their plan to construct a replacement hospital. According to Shelisha Coleman, spokeswoman for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, before the state officials will approve the relocation, Lehigh Regional must first demonstrate a need. Also, they are required to submit a formal application by March 7.
The officials said that the new hospital would still hold 88 beds and will still have an emergency department. On the other hand, there will be no trauma services in the new facility like those offered at Lee Memorial Hospital.
There are people who are not surprised with the move. Just like the chairman of Lee Memorial’s elected government board and CEO of the Naples-based Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, Richard Akin. He said he was not shocked that Lehigh Regional would move. He thinks that it is just a matter of time. Bonita Springs Mayor Ben Nelson and Estero Council of Community Leaders Chairman Nick Batos are both interested to see the new hospital.