MARCO ISLAND — What Rick Locastro wanted Marco Island to know about the new Physicians Regional medical clinic is the level of commitment the hospital group is making to the island. Locastro, chief operating officer of Physicians Regional Healthcare System and a Marco resident, said the new 9,000 square foot clinic, set for a grand opening on Saturday at their location in the Shops of Marco at San Marco and South Barfield, will function as a department of the Physicians Regional full-service hospitals.
“This is so much more than a walk-in clinic,” he said, during a tour of the facility, which is already open and seeing patients. “We have that, plus the ability to schedule appointments with a full range of medical doctors in various specialties, plus lab facilities and a complete physical therapy and rehab unit.”
The new clinic will see physicians, nurses and technicians rotate in from the Physicians Regional hospitals on Collier Blvd. and Pine Ridge Road in Naples, and Locastro said staff are eager to be assigned to the brand-new facility.
“We have so many experts at our disposal. We’re robustly staffed, both with numbers and experience. You’re going to see some people here with very thick resumes.” One staff physician will be Dr. Jim Klein, who Locastro said is well known to Marco Islanders.
Todd Gibson, R.N., director of emergency services, stressed how carefully the company thought out and custom-designed the clinic for Marco Island.
“All the experience HMA has in designing clinics went into this. There is not another facility like this.”
Many patients who have been traveling to Pine Ridge for therapy appointments will now be able to get them right on the island, said Gibson.
“We offer rehab programs such as gait and balance, tailored to an older population. We’ll have cardiology and pulmonary specialists here,” he said, along with the ability for part-time or seasonal residents to have tests performed, see a given doctor here, visit after visit, and send results to the patient’s full-time doctor up north or elsewhere.
“A primary care physician can follow their care day to day and follow up, even if the patient is here just a few months.”
“Everything’s connected there are no walls between the different disciplines,” said Gibson, facilitating treating the patient as a whole person, not merely a collection of symptoms. And test results, notes and patient information will be available electronically throughout the Physicians Regional system. Building out the clinic from scratch has allowed them to incorporate the latest technology, including digital information systems and fiber optic communications. “Everything we do is electronic.”
The clinic, said Walt Tester, director of facilities, is also built with patient privacy in mind, and green and recycled products. As an example, he cited the ceiling tiles, providing sound attenuation for more confidentiality, and sensor-activated lighting and air conditioning units.
One thing the clinic is not, said Gibson, is an emergency room. While the walk-in clinic will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week “think 7-7-7,” said Locastro in an emergency, calling 911 is still the proper action.
“No ambulance will ever deliver a patient here,” he said. There is an entrance in the rear customized to facilitate the transfer of patients to an ambulance, quickly and discreetly, and all Collier EMS and Marco Island Fire-Rescue personnel have been given the tour and made aware of the capabilities of the new clinic, said Gibson.
While new equipment and furnishings are still arriving, the clinic is up and running, and patients are delighted to be able to get care on the island, said Locastro.
“People on the island have been clamoring for this. We’ve had multiple referrals already,” he said. Physicians Regional is interested in being a good neighbor, a good corporate citizen, he added. Much of the artwork on the walls at the clinic comes from the Marco Island Center for the Arts, and is available for purchase.
“We had one painting sold right off the wall already,” said Locastro.
The big grand opening celebration Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., featuring the “Flying Elvi,” a troupe of Elvis-impersonating parachutists, and catering by SMH Catering with proceeds benefitting St. Matthews House, is the clinic’s introduction to the island, said Taylor Hamilton, Physician Regional director of marketing and communications. They are expecting a crowd, and free shuttle service from Veterans Community Park will be provided.
“We’d like everyone to come and tour our new facility,” said Hamilton. “We have a lot to offer the people of Marco Island.”
IF YOU GO
What: Physician’s Regional Clinic Grand Opening featuring ‘The Flying Elvi’
When: 2 until 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23
Where: Shops of Marco at San Marco and South Barfield; parking and complimentary shuttle service is available from Veterans Community Park, 403 East Elkcam Circle, beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Description: The Flying Elvi to descend on Marco Island at the Rockin’ Grand Opening of the Physicians Regional-Marco Island Walk-In Clinic, 2 until 5 p.m., Sat., Feb. 23, in the parking lot of The Shops of Marco, 1839 San Marco Road corner of Barfield and San Marco Road on Marco Island. St. Mathews House catering will be a primary food concessionaire, and all proceeds will benefit St. Matthew’s House.