BY MARCY SHORTUSE – During the past few weeks, future plans of the Boca Grande Health Clinic and its Annex building have been a concern to the island’s residents. What follows is an update on what transpired before and after the Clinic’s annual meeting on April 11, 2019.
The Health Clinic has experienced significant growth in patient visits in recent years. This has prompted the Board to evaluate options to continue serving the community while accommodating the need for expansion of its physical plant. One of those options is to utilize space in the Annex across the street, which is owned by the Clinic Foundation but leased to independent service providers. These practitioners include acupuncture, audiology, counseling, dermatology, physical therapy and podiatry. While they are not employees of the Clinic, they are valuable participants in the effort to meet the healthcare needs of the island’s residents, visitors and workers.
Our goal in planning for the future of the Annex is threefold: (1) to accommodate the unprecedented patient growth at the Clinic, (2) to offer additional services and programs to our patients by utilizing existing space, and (3) to obtain assurance that care delivered at the Annex is of high quality and conforms with legal and ethical standards that govern medical practices.
Since the annual meeting, many members of the Boca Grande community have offered suggestions, given opinions and raised questions about the Annex’s future.
Through these communications, it is clear that community members value the doctors and staff at the Health Clinic, as well as the services of independent providers at the Annex.
The Board appreciates the feedback they have received. After much deliberation and debate, we have approved a compromise that we hope satisfies all parties, particularly our patients.
We will be drafting a new facilities utilization agreement for each of the practitioners at the Annex. Provided they accept the terms of the agreement, the new contract will start on June 1, 2019 and ensure continuity of services for their patients. Hours of operation or days they work may change from their current schedules, but the total number of hours available to them would not change from their present contracts.
We also have committed to much-needed interior renovations to the Annex that will modernize the interior while accommodating the need for expanded physical therapy services. Additionally, the refurbishment will allow the Clinic to enhance its patient services, including ultrasound imaging, annual physicals and medical exams.
The members of the Clinic’s Board believe this compromise will allow the Clinic’s medical staff and the Annex’s independent providers to work with the shared goal of providing high-quality healthcare to the Boca Grande community.
This story was submitted by the Boca Grande Health Clinic’s Board of Directors, written by Dr. Daly Walker.