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Site work begins on new South Shore hospital

RIVERVIEW - Work has started on the 90-bed hospital and medical complex BayCare Health System is building at Big Bend and Simmons Loop roads. BayCare recently started clearing a 72-acre site for its $225-million St. Joseph's Hospital-South, set to open in 2015. Along with the hospital, the campus will include an attached medical arts building and a standalone physicians' office building. "Our new neighbors are ready for high-quality health care close to home, and we look forward to serving them," said Paula McGuiness, lead planner and chief operating officer of St. Joseph's Hospital North, which opened two years ago in Lutz. Community leaders say the new hospital will serve an important role.
"This is exciting news for the entire South Shore community," said Tanya Doran, executive director of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce. "The hospital will bring about 500 new jobs to be filled with many long-term career professionals and future community residents. "It will also bring other medical professionals and supporting organizations, all of which will add to the success of this vibrant and growing area. And the competition of another area hospital will only serve to improve the level of medical care area residents deserve." BayCare won approval to build St. Joseph's Hospital-South in 2009, but efforts to put a new hospital in South Shore have been under way for years. BayCare and HCA, which owns South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, both applied in 2005 to build new hospitals on Big Bend Road. At one point, HCA proposed closing the Sun City Center hospital and building an expanded medical center in Riverview, but that idea met with heavy community resistance. After years of legal wrangling, BayCare won the right to build a hospital. South Shore's first nonprofit hospital is being modeled after the St. Joseph's North in Lutz, which has received rave reviews from patients and staff members, said Lisa Patterson, communications manager for St. Joseph hospitals. Construction of the four-story 325,000-square-foot hospital on Big Bend Road will begin in the fall, along with an attached three-story 80,000-square-foot medical arts building. Both are expected to open in early 2015 The hospital will have a 30-bed emergency room, 16-bed intensive care unit, 14-bed labor and delivery unit and 22 rooms for patients needing observation. All patients will have private rooms with in-room family areas and full bathrooms. "St. Joseph's Hospital South will be an all-digital, state-of-the-art facility that will provide an exceptional patient experience," McGuiness said. "We've designed it with the patient and caregiver in mind. Patients will enjoy a relaxing environment while smart workflow design will enhance successful clinical operations." Everything from doctor's orders to medical records will be kept electronically, which greatly reduces chances for error and decreases the need for storage space, McGuiness said. The hospital will also have a helipad for transporting patients to St. Joseph's main campus in Tampa, a café open to the public, gift shop and WiFi access. Meanwhile, BayCare will build a 40,000-square-foot physicians' office building, scheduled to open next spring, that will give doctors the opportunity to establish practices near the new hospital. The medical community will welcome St. Joseph's new presence in South Shore a reflection of the growth that has occurred and is expected to continue in the region, said Dr. Stephen Zweibach, an obstetrician and gynecologist with offices in Brandon and Riverview. "St. Joseph's has a great track record and did a good job with its hospital to the north," he said. "Doctors will be happy to have the opportunity to have concentrated medical services here where they're needed. "I believe many doctors will join the staff and take advantage of being able to operate near the hospital." Based on St. Joe's experience with the Lutz location that certainly should be the case, Patterson said. "When it opened, we had a staff of 60 physicians. Now we have more than 300," she said. Many of those were new to the area and included doctors with specialties such as anesthesiology and emergency medicine, she said. Hospital officials expect to draw patients from Riverview, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Wimauma, Lithia, southern Brandon, Valrico and southeast Tampa. St. Joseph's South will join St. Joseph's, St. Joseph's, Children's, St. Joseph's Women's hospitals in Tampa; St. Joseph's Hospital North and South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City as part of BayCare's Community Health Alliance.

lkindle@tampatrib.com (813) 731-8138

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