The Health Care District was pleased to host Florida Surgeon General John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS at two of its health care facilities in Belle Glade on February 6th. The C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics and Lakeside Medical Center, both owned and operated by the Health Care District, welcomed the state’s chief health officer and provided him with tours of both the clinic and the hospital.
Dr. Armstrong, accompanied by Alina M. Alonso, MD, the Director of Florida Health Palm Beach County and a Health Care District Board Commissioner, began the day at the Brumback Clinic in Belle Glade, where he had an opportunity to meet Clinic staff and see how the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) provides needed primary care and pharmacy services to residents in the medically underserved area of western Palm Beach County known as the Glades.
FQHC Executive Director Christopher F. Irizarry, MPA, FQHC Medical Director Belma Andric, MD, MPH, and Ronald J. Wiewora, MD, MPH, the Health Care District’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, shared with Dr. Armstrong some of the clinic’s ongoing outreach efforts to establish the clinic as a medical home for their adult and pediatric patients, including the homeless and agricultural workers.
Dr. Armstrong said he was pleased that in addition to medical care, patients at the clinic have access to services provided by Mental Health Counselors and a Social Worker. Dr. Armstrong complimented the Clinic for partnering with the City of Belle Glade to provide local bus transportation to Clinic patients on the Belle Glade Express. He said he was proud the Clinics are continuing the legacy of the late Dr. Clarence L. “Carl” Brumback, who served as Palm Beach County’s first Health Department Director beginning in 1950, and is the namesake for the five clinics throughout the county.
Lakeside Medical Center then opened its doors to Dr. Armstrong where Thomas J. Leach, FACHE, Hospital Administrator, took him on a tour along with Dr. Wiewora, Darcy J. Davis, CPA, MSM, Health Care District Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer, and the hospital’s leadership team. The Florida Surgeon General learned about the hospital’s mission to serve as the “Safety Net” for the Glades region by providing high-quality primary and acute medical services in a safe, teaching environment. The group discussed the hospital’s recent accomplishments, including national recognition as a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission.
Dr. Armstrong also heard about the important role the hospital plays in an area that faces challenges in retaining primary care providers. He participated in a question and answer session with current residents in Lakeside Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program. Residents shared with Dr. Armstrong their experiences working in the acute-care rural hospital where they encounter illnesses and conditions not often seen by residents in non-rural facilities. The discussion underscored the hospital’s commitment to training physicians who will stay and practice locally.