February 5, 2020
(Courtesy: Jax Daily Record)
When Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital looked at adding a children’s emergency room to its Baptist Medical Center South campus several years ago, the need wasn’t there yet.
For a children’s ER to be viable, it needs 10,000 to 12,000 visits annually. With the growth of northern St. Johns County and southern Duval County, Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Michael Aubin said it made sense to add Wolfson emergency services to Baptist South, since many patients were coming from those areas.
“We’ve been looking at the demographics of where patients come from, and we were finding that there were so many patients that were going to our Town Center location or to the main campus,” Aubin said.
“There were a good number of patients who were driving on I-95 by our South hospital to head to one of those two locations,” he said.
The ER opened Dec. 30 offering patients up to 17 years old and their families another option for pediatric emergencies.
Baptist’s and Wolfson’s next closest emergency room is at its free-standing ER location near St. Johns Town Center.
The $8 million, 8,100-square-foot facility that opened Dec. 30 has its own surface parking lot, entrance and check-in area, but still is connected to Baptist South.
It has 12 exam rooms, specifically designed for children. It will be staffed by double board-certified physicians, and pediatric nurses, respiratory therapists, radiologists and pharmacists.
Aubin said Baptist’s other hospital campuses in Jacksonville Beach and Fernandina Beach may not be able to sustain a pediatric ER yet, but they have telemedicine capabilities to connect patients and doctors to Wolfson’s main campus on the Southbank near Downtown.
Wolfson operates emergency centers at its campus Downtown and in North Jacksonville, Fleming Island, Oakleaf and near Town Center.
Baptist South President Nicole Thomas said about 15% of patients that come through the Baptist South are pediatric patients.
“Baptist Medical Center South wants to be the community hospital that takes care of the entire family at all stages of life,” Thomas said.
“As one of the busiest labor and delivery units in the city, we start with nearly 3,000 new babies every year and we wanted to be able to add services to take care of their emergency needs over their childhood as well,” she said.