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Business Briefs

By Staff | Jul 22, 2015

Applications open for

Blue Chip business awards

The 21st annual Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Awards are coordinated and sponsored by BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company and BB&T Bank. Applications are now open to successful small businesses in Lee, Collier or Charlotte County that have overcome adversity to achieve success. To qualify, the for-profit business must have been in operation for at least three years under the same ownership and employ five to 400 people.

Applications are due by September 7 and independent judges will pick the winning entry. Businesses can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party. The award ceremony will take place Thursday, Nov. 5 at Harborside Event Center, located at 1375 Monroe Street in Fort Myers.

To submit an application, please contact Stacey Mercado at 433-7189 or SMercado@BBandT.com .

The 2015 Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award is endorsed by the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Business Observer, Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Economic Development Office, Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida, City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office, Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce, Estero Chamber of Commerce, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Southwestern State College, Florida Weekly, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, Gulfshore Business, Hodges University, Lee County Economic Development Office/Horizon Council, Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Florida Business Today, Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.

FSW health school

gifted $100,000

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc., organizer of the Southwest Florida Wine &Food Fest, presented a generous gift of $100,000 to the School of Health Professions at Florida SouthWestern State College on June 22.

SWFL Children’s Charities President Elaine Hawkins and Vice President Dorothy Fitzgerald presented the check -a portion of the wine fest’s 2015 proceeds- to FSW President Jeff Allbritten and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Lou Traina.

Hawkins and Fitzgerald later toured FSW’s Respiratory Care Lab and Dental Hygiene Clinic to see the impact last year’s gift had on students and the two high-tech programs.

“Florida SouthWestern State College is a most deserving beneficiary of the efforts of our trustees and all the people who support the Wine Fest. The college has outstanding nursing and pediatric dental programs with phenomenal success rates,” said Hawkins.

“Our board and trustees believe in our community-education system, and this investment serves the entire community. Helping FSW enhance its training and the ability of its students to fill positions in our healthcare system is a win-win for everyone,” added Fitzgerald.

Besides providing $25,000 in student scholarships the last academic year, FSW also invested in a V60 pediatric respirator and a panograph X-Ray machine to diagnose dental disease in children. The Dental Hygiene Clinic provides preventive dental care to 2,000 local children and adults each year.

The FSW School of Health Professions offers two bachelor’s degrees, 11 associate’s degrees, and six certificate programs, preparing local students with the credentials to work in nearly every health-related field.

SWFL Children’s Charities raised $3.4 million in 2015, funds that benefitted The Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Music Therapy Program at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Pediatric Nursing Program at Florida SouthWestern State College.

SalusCare expands behavioral healthcare for children

SalusCare, Inc., has announced plans to expand children’s outpatient behavioral health treatment this summer, enabling the non-profit to potentially treat up to 1,000 more children and adolescents and reduce wait times for appointments.

Two child psychiatrists and two pediatricians have accepted positions with SalusCare with start dates expected this summer. The four new positions are in addition to six more physicians and ARNPs that have been hired by SalusCare to treat adults with mental health and substance use disorders that also are expected to start work during the next three months.

The additional staffing for children’s outpatient healthcare will allow SalusCare to start accepting children as new patients starting July 13.

“We have been searching for quite some time to recruit more medical personnel to our team to meet increased demand for services, especially among children,” said SalusCare CEO Kevin B. Lewis. “We anticipate that we will be able to see patients more quickly with less wait time between appointments as well as offer the consistency of seeing the same physician during each visit.”

Medical services for children and adolescents have been a critical issue for SalusCare during the past year as doctor capacity decreased to less than one FTE (full-time equivalent). Wait times for appointments stretched to as much as four months. In response, SalusCare added an ARNP and increased the existing doctor’s hours to reach the equivalent of 2.0 FTEs.

“Physician recruitment has been difficult throughout the country. We have been very aggressive in attempting to attract more medical providers to our organization,” Lewis said.

SalusCare treated 1,960 youngsters on an outpatient basis last year. When the new recruits are on board, Lewis said SalusCare may be able to see as many as 1,000 more children and adolescents.

“The addition of these medical providers especially the doctors specializing in the care of children and adolescents is a wonderful development for Southwest Florida. Looking forward to the new providers joining us shortly, this will become an exciting time, not just for SalusCare but for the entire area,” said SalusCare Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Don Baracskay.

Mental health treatment is a major unmet community need. According to the National Institutes of Health, one in five youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that 75 to 80 percent of children and youth in need of mental health services do not receive them.

The new physicians will start at SalusCare in June, July and August and should be on board prior to the beginning of school on August 24 when demand normally increases, Baracskay said.

HealthPark named among

most beautiful hospitals

HealthPark Medical Center ranked fifth in the Top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the U.S. for 2015 by Soliant Health, a leading provider of specialized healthcare staffing services whose travelers have observed the link between beautiful hospitals and pleased patients as they work in facilities around the country.

HealthPark Medical Center may be among the top 100 U.S. hospitals for cardiology and intensive care, but it was beautifully designed, both inside and out, to create an environment which promotes healing and comfort for patients and their families. Visitors and patients are removed from the clinical setting by an atrium that brings Florida’s natural beauty and sunlight indoors. It is also is home to a new fresh-food caf featuring rounded dark-wood counters, glass-encased carving stations, and lustrous flooring that has its patrons comparing it to a cruise chip or luxury hotel.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the most beautiful hospitals in the nation. Being in a clinical environment can be stressful for patients and their loved ones. Having such a beautiful, healing setting can take you away from all that and help in a patient’s recovery,” explains Donna Giannuzzi, Chief Administrative Officer for HealthPark Medical Center. “Working here is something the staff is proud of. We take pride in our hospital, and more importantly, we take great pride in the care we provide.”

Coming in fifth with 14,345 votes, HealthPark Medical Center is more than just a pretty place. It boasts an impressive top-notch cardio-thoracic program and houses the only children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami, saving countless families from the added expense and hassle of traveling for care. It also houses cutting-edge technology, including advanced diagnostic imaging and an expansive surgical department. Being among Healthgrades’ America’s 50 Best Hospitals signifies a higher quality of care and lower risk of complications.

Soliant Health’s 7th annual list of the 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in America were chosen through an online voting process. This year, Soliant received a record-breaking 388,505 votes, making 2015 the most successful year in its contest history. HealthPark Medical Center ranked fifth in the nation despite greater competition than ever before.