BayCare and Gessler Clinic Join to Increase Access to High-Quality Clinical Care

October 27, 2023
A medical clinic shown across the street from a hospital.
Winter Haven-based Gessler Clinic, which has been in operation since 1957, will join forces with BayCare Health System. Its main location is across the street from Winter Haven Hospital.


BayCare Health System and Winter Haven-based Gessler Clinic are joining forces to better serve Winter Haven and improve access to high-quality health care. Effective Dec. 2, BayCare will begin operating at the Gessler Clinic locations with many of the same providers and team members who have made Gessler such a popular option for the region for decades.

BayCare is the region’s largest not-for-profit health care provider. Gessler Clinic is a physician-owned medical group that has served the Winter Haven community since 1957. It currently covers 20 specialties with more than 40 providers. 

“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,” said BayCare Co-Chief Operating Officer Lou Galdieri, MHA, BSN, RN. “This transition underscores a mutual vision to elevate health care delivery in Winter Haven and Polk County.”

“As a physician, you want nothing more than to take good care of your patients,” said Richard LaCalamito, D.O., a member of the Gessler Clinic since 1996. “With this transition, our community’s health will remain the driving priority of this clinic.”

Gessler Clinic’s main location is right across the street from Winter Haven Hospital, and many of its providers already practice there and at Winter Haven Women’s Hospital. The two hospitals joined BayCare in 2013, adding not only acute care facilities to the health system but also outpatient behavioral health services, a community blood center and primary care practices. BayCare has since deepened its commitment in Polk County, purchasing Bartow Regional Medical Center and a Winter Haven-based urgent care center. In addition, BayCare opened two additional urgent care centers in surrounding cities, expanded specialty and primary care practices, and established a family medicine physician residency program.

Most Gessler providers and team members will join BayCare, including BayCare Medical Group, the largest physician and advanced practice providers group serving the West Central Florida and Tampa Bay regions. BayCare has 16 hospitals that are known for delivering high-quality care, including a dedicated children's hospital, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. BayCare also is the region's largest provider of pediatric and behavioral health services and has an extensive ambulatory outpatient network.  

In 2022, BayCare was named for the fourth year in a row among the nation's top 20% of health systems for clinical and operational excellence by FORTUNE/Merative.

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