Better Access for Patients

Founded more than a quarter-century ago to ensure not-for-profit health care remained available to its communities, BayCare continues to expand its services to serve West Central Florida – including continuing to invest in state-of-the-art hospitals to deliver the region’s best acute care.

BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel in Pasco County opened its doors in March 2023, as BayCare continued construction on a 146-bed replacement hospital in Hillsborough County for South Florida Baptist Hospital. BayCare also announced plans for a new facility for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, already a leader in specialized pediatric care and research. Planning continued for a 17th hospital in north Manatee County to meet rising demand. Other service enhancements in 2023 included expanded behavioral health hospital units and services, new and updated cardiac catheterization labs, and expanded labor and delivery hospital units. Two physician practices joined BayCare, improving patient access to specialists in the region.

These decisions make sure BayCare, backed by sound fiscal management and growth policies, remains well-positioned to continue its mission to improve the health of its communities.
Total Hospital Beds at BayCare in 2023 
Total Births at BayCare in 2023

A New Hospital for Pasco County

On March 7, 2023, BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel opened its doors, treating 33 patients and admitting 13 on the first day of service. Later in the year, officials gathered to mark the opening of the hospital’s new helipad.

The 86-bed, 318,000-square-foot hospital provides comprehensive medical services, including an emergency department, an intensive care unit with virtual-monitoring beds, diagnostic services such as imaging and lab, and surgical services. The $246 million facility was the first BayCare-branded hospital, and it serves patients in Hernando, northern Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

A Replacement Hospital in Hillsborough County

As construction continued on the new 420,000-square-foot South Florida Baptist Hospital four miles from the original hospital, BayCare planned for a move and grand opening in the second quarter of 2024. The $326 million replacement hospital will have two six-story towers with 146 private rooms. An adjacent medical office building will house physician offices, rehabilitation, imaging, wound care and other services, offering comprehensive health care access for Plant City and surrounding communities.

A new home for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital 

BayCare announced plans to build a new, specially designed St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa by 2030 as part of a strategic effort to increase the region’s access to high-quality, state-of-the-art pediatric health care. The investment in a new facility for the hospital is part of BayCare’s comprehensive plan to enhance local pediatric expertise and create a destination hospital for high-acuity pediatric services, research and medical innovation for West Central Florida and beyond. BayCare is the region’s largest provider of pediatric services and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is its largest volume pediatric hospital.

More Options for Outpatients

Winter Haven has new BayCare outpatient laboratories and an additional imaging location following BayCare’s agreement with Gessler Clinic, a local physician group. BayCare Outpatient Imaging also opened a location at the new BayCare Hospital Wesley Chapel. Breast cancer patients have a new resource in Sarasota after BayCare HomeCare opened a new “A Place for Her” location, which offers pre- and postmastectomy supplies and has received full accreditation from The Joint Commission.

More Access to Care with New Partnerships

BayCare joined forces with Gessler Clinic and North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA) to improve access to health care for the community.

Gessler Clinic, a multispecialty physician-owned medical group in Winter Haven, joined BayCare in December, aligning shared goals for enhanced community health care. “Gessler’s long-standing dedication and high-quality service to its patients make it a natural fit to expand BayCare’s commitment to the community and elevate health care delivery in Winter Haven and Polk County,” said BayCare Co-Chief Operating Officer Lou Galdieri, MHA, BSN, RN.

BayCare also enhanced its anesthesiology services by integrating NAPA clinicians into BayCare Medical Group in November. This transition included anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and certified anesthesiology assistants (CAAs), streamlining care and improving patient experiences.

A New Approach for Psychiatric Care

Recognizing an increasing need for psychiatric patients in the region to have access to in-hospital care, BayCare in 2023 opened the 24-bed Unit for Psychiatry and Medical Services (UPM) at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz, the first of its kind in the region. Assisted with funds from Hillsborough County, BayCare’s new unit enables psychiatric patients to receive comprehensive care in one setting rather than having to be treated separately for medical and psychiatric needs.

BayCare also finalized its acquisition of Northside Behavioral Health Center in January 2023, adding 100 former Northside employees to the BayCare family. St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg announced plans to add 13 hybrid rooms for behavioral health patients to its Emergency Center as part of its Emergency Center expansion project.

In June, Winter Haven Hospital’s Center for Behavioral Health, an outpatient center that supplements the hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit, added space to be known as the Annex. The Annex now houses case management, school-based therapy, in-home children’s therapy and an expanded Peer Recovery Program.

Making Room for More Babies

BayCare brings more babies into the world than any hospital system in the four-county region. To keep up with growing southern Hillsborough County, St. Joseph’s Hospital-South added three new labor and delivery rooms and two assessment/triage rooms. The Riverview hospital, which opened in February 2015, delivered 2,051 babies in 2023, an all-time high and up 233% from its opening year.