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Growth, nurse recruitment priorities for new HCA Florida Memorial chief (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) — Reed Hammond’s career in health care administration stretches from Texas to Tennessee and up to Kentucky, but now the University of South Florida alumnus has returned to the Sunshine State to take over as the chief executive officer of HCA Florida Memorial Hospital.

“My wife and kids and myself have been received into Jacksonville incredibly well, and it’s been a really smooth transition,” Hammond said. (Pictured above)

The No. 1 challenge he sees for the hospital right now is simply getting enough nurses to handle the amount of patients needing care.

“There’s a few ways that we’re doing that,” Hammond said. “We have what’s called the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement at the University of North Florida, the Deerwood campus, with eight simulation rooms. We have two homecare apartment-style rooms. We have an OR/emergency department flex room, skills labs, multipurpose rooms for trauma, birthing, pediatric training.

“Basically, this center affords a simulated medial environment for nursing students to get real hands-on best practices prior to entering the workforce.”

HCA also took over the Galen College of Nursing in Kentucky, which is planning an expansion to areas across the country, including Jacksonville. There are 19 campuses right now, with the closest in Gainesville.

Hammond sees the hospital’s next steps as expanding its reach regionally, as Northeast Florida continues to grow.

“We have to expand our access points,” Hammond said. “As you know, Jacksonville is growing, and growing at a rapid pace, and we need to keep pace with that growth and make sure that we take our access points to the communities that are rapidly growing and ensure that we’re being able to bring a health care delivery model to those communities, and continuously expand that.

“We have two urgent care sites. We have a dedicated women’s center on Atlantic and Kernan, where we do mammograms, imaging, OB/GYN services.”

He noted the hospital needs to expand in areas in anticipation of growth, as well, with expansions of freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers and healthplex sites as the market demands.

There’s also the aspect of community involvement. HCA Florida Memorial is the only taxpaying hospital in the city, Hammond said, contributing around $35.5 million in tax revenue to the city annually and participating in community events through the hospital’s “We Show Up” campaign.

“That’s in addition to a roughly $35 million a year that we provide in charity care, which is underinsured and uninsured care for patients who need our services as well,” Hammond said.