Visitors had plenty of options at BayCare Wesley Chapel Hospital’s community open house.
Outdoors, they could get free health screenings, apply for jobs, grab a bite from a food truck and enjoy live music.
Indoors, they could take self-guided tours, with stops in various parts of the hospital.
They could peek into the fully equipped private patient rooms. The rooms have ample space for visitors and they are Alexa-enabled, allowing patients to play music, turn lights off and on, raise and lower blinds, and, of course, call the nurse, among other things.
Tour-takers also could see a surgical suite, check out different departments, learn about various services and enjoy the artwork adorning walls along some hospital corridors.
They also could get a glance at the hospital’s restaurant, Waves Café, and take a look at the gift shop.
Hospital employees were stationed at spots throughout the tour, to field questions. Signs were posted, too, providing additional details.
Staffers eagerly shared their enthusiasm for being part of the BayCare team.
Some employees at the Wesley Chapel location transferred from other BayCare hospitals. They said they’re happy to work closer to home.
Others are new to the health care organization.
Many — whether new to BayCare or not — said they were attracted by having the opportunity to be part of a brand-new hospital and to help set the tone for quality care.
Rebecca Schulkowski, president of BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel, is enthused, too.
“I’m just so thrilled to be here. I’m so excited to be a part of bringing something new to the community, to be able to represent BayCare and the BayCare values,” she said.
She was pleased, too, by the event’s turnout.
“It’s been a phenomenal morning. It’s extremely humbling, to me, to see how gracious the community is to us,” the hospital executive said.
Thousands turned out.
The crowd was diverse. There were families with young children, retirees and people of all ages, in between.
The vast majority arrived in shuttle buses provided by the hospital, catching rides at stops at The Shops at Wiregrass or Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch.
Others strolled over, from the adjacent Seven Oaks neighborhood.
“It’s a testament of the healthiness of this neighborhood — how many people have just walked over,” Schulkowski said.
Many of those she spoke with were curious about the hospital’s services.
Those services will include medical services and health care resources relating to: breast health; diabetes and endocrinology; diagnostic services including imaging and lab; ear, nose and throat; emergency room; gastroenterology; heart and vascular; intensive care unit with virtual-monitoring beds; interventional radiology; orthopedics; primary care; pulmonology and respiratory; surgery including robotic surgery; urology and wound care.
But the services will not include labor and delivery.
“One of the reasons we chose not to do it is when we looked at the demographics, most of the people moving to this area — they’re established families,” the hospital president said.
BayCare does offer those services at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz and St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa.
Beyond providing health care services, BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel is providing a significant number of jobs.
It currently has about 350 team members, including full-time, part-time and labor pool positions, with about 90% of the openings filled, Schulkowski said.
There also will be additional staffing needs, as the hospital grows.
“We built the foundation of this hospital, with expansion in mind. We want to grow with the community,” Schulkowski said.
She estimated the staff will grow to around 600 in the future.
Originally, expansion wasn’t expected for at least four or five years.
But the hospital president said: “According to the response of the community this morning, it might be faster than I thought.”
BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel
Where: 4501 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. (The location is on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, between State Road 56 and State Road 54, east of Interstate 75.)
When: Opening day is March 7. Visiting hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Why: The hospital will provide health care services in a growing region. It has 86 private rooms and 20 Emergency Room beds. It offers comprehensive medical services and health care resources, including an emergency department, an intensive care unit with virtual-monitoring beds, diagnostic services such as imaging and lab, and surgical services.
Cost: The 318,000-square-foot building is on a campus of more than 40 acres. The project’s estimated cost is $246 million.
Fun fact: Alexa stands ready to assist. Patients can ask Alexa to play music, turn on the TV, turn off the TV; raise the blinds, lower the blinds; change the temperature; and, of course, call the nurse.
Published March 01, 2023
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