All Children

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In January of this year, the patients and employees of All Children’s Hospital on the west coast of Florida moved two blocks north to its new location, a ten-floor hospital and five-floor outpatient care center. The 80-year-old organization is where children are sent when they are too sick to be cared for by their area community hospitals. “We serve all children, anybody who arrives at our door,” says Gary Carnes, President and CEO. “Our primary market area is the 17 counties on the west coast of Florida, but in any given year we receive a patient from every county in Florida, from 20 or more states, and several foreign countries.”

All Children’s has about 2800 employees. As well as the pediatric specialty hospital, they have ten ambulatory centers and manage the neonatal units for eight other hospitals. More than sixty percent of their patients are funded through the Medicaid program and the rest are paid for through commercial insurance or are charity.

Improvements in the New Hospital

The new facility housing All Children’s includes a central energy plant that can provide 100% of the hospital’s power needs in case of an emergency. The hospital also has the ability to create its own drinking water. “We are the only hospital in Florida, I believe, that can provide 100% of its own power and drinking water during an emergency situation of two weeks or more duration,” says Carnes.

Every child in the new hospital has an individual room with space enough for at least one parent to sleep in a bed in the child’s room and be with that child 24/7. “It provides much better patient space, clinical areas for staff, and family areas,” Carnes says. “It’s much improved over the old hospital relative to the comforts of the parent and child.”

They also built the new facility with green in mind. “We used energy efficient lighting where possible, recycled materials when feasible, and other products that are easier to maintain,” Carnes says. For instance, the hospital installed all rubber flooring. This means they no longer have to strip, wax, or buff. It can all be cleaned with an antiseptic agent. “It saves the environment and lowers operating costs as we no longer have to use harsh chemicals to clean and maintain floor tile.”

They are also completing the installation of a complete electronic medical record system that includes computerized order entry for physicians. “Just about all our data—images and text—are now retrievable through our electronic medical record system,” says Carnes. “Multiple users can access the same electronic records and data in any location hooked to our system. This includes many physician offices and all of our outpatient centers.”

Superb Care for All Children

“In my opinion, we have the most dedicated group of pediatric physician specialists, clinicians and hospital staff in Florida. They provide superb care to every child who comes in the door. We take any child who is referred to us and we get quite a variety of kids who need many services. They are very ill when they get to us,” says Carnes. He lists making sure the hospital has the right amount of personnel and assuring they are adequately trained, as one of his top challenges in running the organization.

“We’re the primary pediatric training site for major area colleges who have nursing and allied health programs,” he says. “Many of the community colleges who have technical programs in healthcare also train here.” The hospital has developed its own pediatric residency program for nurses. Nurses who want to work at All Children’s complete this program that lasts about 22 weeks.

“The curriculum includes additional classroom and hands-on training before they actually take patient assignment up on the floor. So they get nearly an additional half-year of training through our residency program before they are ever really required to take full patient care load assignments. It’s a very good program and very well received, especially by young graduate nurses who want to go into pediatrics,” Carnes says.

Welcoming Even More Children

“We’ve always been, at least for the last 40 or more years, the major pediatric referral center on the west coast of Florida,” Carnes says. “These new facilities give us the opportunity to expand our ability to take care of more kids.”

“We are the safety net provider for children on the west coast of Florida. Most community hospitals are not properly prepared to care for critically ill or injured children. The most difficult cases get sent to All Children’s. That’s our role and we welcome it. We embrace it. We’re glad we are here to be able to serve the needs of all children.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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