KISSIMMEE-- Under a new agreement with Osceola Regional Medical Center, Nemours Children's Health System now provides hospital-based pediatric physicians who specialize in treating acutely ill infants, children and adolescents to the Kissimmee hospital.
The affiliation expands Osceola Regional's existing team of pediatric ER physicians, neonatologists and local pediatricians. Doctors from Nemours now provide on-site care at Osceola Regional's 13-private room pediatrics unit.
Also, when Osceola Regional completes construction on its $7 million, 6-room pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) this summer, and expansion of its existing Pediatric Inpatient Unit and Neonatal ICU Level II, Nemours will staff the unit with pediatric intensivists and neonatologists, who work closely with primary care providers and other pediatric specialists at the 318-bed, Trauma Center Level II Osceola Regional, including those in the hospital's pediatric emergency department.
"Osceola County is one of the nation's fastest-growing counties, and our community has needed greater access to specialized pediatric care for years," said Bob Krieger, CEO of Osceola Regional Medical Center. "We've now added the expertise of Nemours physicians and are finalizing the construction of our state-of-the-art PICU, slated to open this summer. Our experts are well-equipped to treat children dealing with a range of health issues, from minor illnesses to acute injury or disease."
The agreement also includes Nemours CareConnect, a technological link that remotely brings pediatricians who specialize in rare conditions from Nemours into Osceola Regional Medical Center. It allows the specialists to visually assess a patient in Kissimmee through an iPad.
"When our physicians have the opportunity to put their eyes on a patient, it will provide an added level of communication that you just cannot get over the phone," said Robert Bridges, CEO of Florida Operations for Nemours Children's Health System. "We think Nemours CareConnect allows care teams to better determine the safest and most necessary care for the child and family."
Osceola Regional CNO Rick Naegler said working with Nemours "allows us to combine the best of what they do - specialty pediatric care - with the best of what we do as a full-service community hospital. This partnership also increases continuity and coordination of care by helping to ensure that patients see the same medical experts throughout their stay in our hospital."
In addition to pediatric care, Osceola Regional offers the only NICU Level II facility in Osceola County, which provides special medical care for newborns and is adjacent to the recently-renovated $1.6 million Baby Suites for birthing mothers.
Tawni Price, administrative director of Women's and Pediatric Services for Osceola Regional, said when families come to Osceola Regional to deliver their babies, "they can rest assured knowing that our experts are prepared to handle any medical scenario. "And as their children grow up, we will continue to serve as a trusted resource for these families."
The financial bottom line for both institutions likely prompted the partnership. According to WMFE News, "Nemours was only 37 percent occupied in 2014, and lost $54 million on operations. Osceola Regional made $42.3 million in net income in the same year." Reporter Abe Aboraya called the deal "interesting in part because Osceola Regional's parent company is for-profit HCA, while Nemours is owned by a charity."