The Lee Memorial Health System is the recipient of what may be the largest philanthropic donation ever received in Southwest Florida – $20 million earmarked for construction of a children’s hospital.
A medical tissue bank and research center seems to be on its way to Southwest Florida.
The non-profit Southwest Florida Global Research Institute would collect and store human tissue from local biopsies and surgeries that would normally be discarded. Scientists would use it for medical research on all kinds of diseases – from autism to diabetes.
Dozens of people gather on the porch of Chapel by the Sea. Clouds cast shadows over the morning sky, making it cooler than normal as the breeze from the gulf chills the crowd. Many of these folks are homeless and turn to the Fort Myers Beach church for help. After eating breakfast, they join hands in a circle and recite a prayer.
Inside a storefront near downtown Fort Myers, twenty people wait in a cramped room to be seen by a nurse practitioner. The sign facing the road reads ‘free clinic.’ Parish nurse Yolette Osselin calls the next patient. She passes a painting of Jesus in ‘The Last Supper’ on her way to the sole examination room.
Aging baby-boomers, a retiring workforce, and a growing population are driving up the demand for health care providers. It may be an impending problem for some areas. But in certain rural communities, this has long been their reality.
Residents of Glades County have been dealing with a doctor shortage for decades. The county has a new doctor –and he’s its only one. READ MORE
James Dwyer reminisces about his trip to Panama last May.
“It was just a great experience,” he said. “If you could have a good experience getting a root canal, I would say it was the best.”
Dwyer had never considered dental care overseas – that is until his appointment for a root canal got canceled weeks before his trip to Panama. READ MORE
The Lee County School District is looking into establishing its own health clinics for its employees. The move comes as an effort to curb the rising cost of health care.
The school district spent about $70 million last year on doctor visits, prescriptions, and medical procedures for its almost 10,000 employees. It expects to pay about 9 percent more next year.
Chief Human Resources Officer Greg Adkins says there are two ways these clinics will help buffer the rising costs.
“One is increasing the convenience for employees so they can take care of themselves sooner rather than later,” said Adkins.
“It’s also about disease management where we’re catching some chronic health condition earlier before it gets out of hand and treat it before it becomes a major disease. That’s where the real savings is.”
Lee County is not the first school district in Florida to consider the option. Charlotte, St. Johns, Pasco, and Lake County School Districts have all established their own employee health clinics.
The Lee County School District plans to make a decision on the clinics some time next year.