In Case Of Emergency

Manatee Memorial Hospital opens the freestanding ER at Bayshore Gardens for 24/7 care

Ribbon cutting (left to right): Caleb Grimes, Kevin DiLallo, Tom McDougal, Vern Buchanan, Tara Poulton, Mark Goodson, Jeff Podobnik, Mayor Gene Brown, and Dr. Teresa Rawe

Since 2010, only six Florida counties have experienced a population surge greater than Manatee, which has grown by 31 percent, or more than 100,000 residents, over the past dozen years, according to US census data. 

Meeting the many essentials of the ever-expanding population is challenging, but Manatee Memorial Hospital recently addressed one of the area’s greatest needs by opening the county’s first freestanding emergency department. 

The ER at Bayshore Gardens is an 11,000-square-foot facility that provides emergency care 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all ages. It’s located at 5506 14th St. W. in southwest Manatee, about five miles south of the main hospital in Bradenton. 

“We are honored to be extending Manatee Memorial’s community outreach by opening our first freestanding emergency room for Manatee County,” says Tom McDougal, CEO of Manatee Memorial Hospital. 

“By expanding our emergency services, we can provide access to emergency care where it is needed. No matter the emergency, the new ER at Bayshore Gardens is equipped to handle it, from minor conditions to stabilizing treatment for major conditions such as heart attack and stroke.” 

A twin of Manatee Hospital’s ER at Sun City Center in Hillsborough County, which opened last year, the ER at Bayshore Gardens has 12 treatment areas, including six exam rooms and three rapid medical exam spaces. It also features a full-service laboratory as well as X-ray, CT and ultrasound services. 

Most importantly, a physician and team of certified ER nurses are always on duty to offer the same level of care as a hospital emergency department. 

“Our staff is capable of treating any condition or patient that typically presents to a hospital-based emergency room,” says Tammy Sloas, freestanding emergency department director at Manatee Memorial Hospital. 

The ER at Bayshore Gardens does not have an inpatient option, but patients needing further treatment can be transferred to Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton or have transportation arranged to another hospital of their choice. 

“We can make all of those arrangements right there at the emergency room,” Tammy ensures. “Once the patient has been evaluated by the doctor and all parties are in agreement with the path forward, we call admitting and arrange the transfer.” 

During its first week of operation, the ER at Bayshore Gardens transferred 6 percent of its patients to Manatee Memorial Hospital. Similarly, the ER at Sun City Center has transferred about 6 percent of its patients to primary hospitals since the year began. 

A Growing Trend 

Freestanding emergency departments are nothing new. The concept dates to the early 1970s, when big-city hospitals began opening ER facilities in rural areas that lacked acute care centers. 

At first, the trend developed slowly. However, from 2008 to 2016, the number of stand-alone emergency facilities increased from 222 to 566 across 32 states. Estimates call for more than 2,000 by next year. 

“In growing communities such as Manatee County, there is absolutely a need for facilities like this because it eases the pressure on the primary hospital-based emergency rooms, where volumes are increasing,” Tammy says. 

“Those primary emergency rooms are getting hit all the time, but it’s difficult to add beds or expand those ERs. The better option is to build new facilities out in the community where the people are that provide them with another option for emergency care.” 

To help meet the medical needs in fast-growing Manatee County, Manatee Memorial Hospital has opened the ER at Bayshore Gardens an extension of Manatee Memorial Hospital, an 11,000-square-foot, freestanding

Making a Difference 

Tammy says freestanding emergency departments are “the wave of the future” in hospital care and that it’s no surprise Manatee Memorial is part of the paradigm. It has long been providing advanced treatment options. 

Now celebrating its 70th anniversary, Manatee Memorial opened Manatee County’s first Interventional Radiology Suite with biplane imaging in January 2019 to support advanced stroke care and vascular disease management. 

Biplane radiology uses two rotating cameras, one on each side of the patient, to take simultaneous images, which are combined digitally to form a 3D view. 

Manatee Memorial also became the first hospital in the state to perform 800 cardiac procedures in which the Watchman™ left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) was implanted into atrial fibrillation patients, including 500 by one surgeon. 

More recently, Manatee Memorial was among the first in the region to offer Barostim™ Baroreflex Activation Therapy, which uses neuromodulation – the power of the brain and nervous system – to treat systolic heart failure. 

In recent years, the hospital has also become one of the leaders in the use of the Impella® Heart Pump, a tiny device that allows surgeons to perform complex coronary interventions without opening the heart. 

 The hospital’s range of medical services includes surgery, orthopedics, outpatient and inpatient radiology, rehabilitation, respiratory care, sleep services, oncology and wound care. The hospital also provides specialized care for women and children through the county’s only Level II neonatal intensive care unit. 

The opening of the ER at Sun City Center and ER at Bayshore Gardens are just two more examples of how Manatee Memorial Hospital is working toward its goal of providing the community with advanced care and services. 

“We are proud to be a part of this fast-growing community,” Tammy concludes, “and we’re looking forward to providing the residents here the expanded support and medical care they need.”  

Florida Health Care News 

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