A new, full service hospital in Clay County opened its doors for the very first time Tuesday.
St. Vincent's Medical Center Clay County had been in the works since 2005, so the culmination of about eight years of planning comes to fruition with more than 11 surgeries and procedures already scheduled for Tuesday.
They call the main entrance to the hospital the "medical mall" because everything is brought to the patient there and check-in for every area of the hospital can be done at the main entrance.
The check-in process is also reflective of another unique aspect at St. Vincent's Clay County: technology. When you register, you get the palm of your hand scanned and your medical record is linked to it.
"The hospital is unique in that we've actually designed it to bring the care to the patients. For years, hospitals designed themselves around what the providers wanted to do for the patients," said Blain Claypool, president of St. Vincent's Clay County.
From the main lobby of the hospital to the patient floors where walls were built on a curvature, you can see a nurse the minute you step off the elevator. Claypool said they've thought of every detail as they bring the St. Vincent's Ministry to Middleburg.
"Historically, 50 percent of Clay County leaves Clay County for their health care. Tuesday that all changes," said Claypool.
The latest technology has been implemented in every corner of the hospital. In ICU, patients are monitored by a critical care physician via camera and video screen at all times. A doctor with a company called Advanced ICU is always available, the first to be installed in Florida.
"We even encourage the family members, if you missed your doctor and you came in, just missed him how many times does that happen to somebody? Well the doctor is always here all you have to do is push the button," said Claypool.
"We don't replace the staff at the bedside, we could never do that, but we're available 24/7 and there will be smiles on their faces and they just relax," said a nurse on the video screen of the patient room.
Also available is what's called a specialist on call, a portable system that can roll throughout the ER, bringing a neurologist on screen in 15 minutes to help evaluate stroke patients. Faster than a local doctor on call would be able to get dressed and get in.
St. Vincent's Clay County has also made a boost to the economy.
"We really are an economic engine for the county when you look at it. the hospital itself provided about 300 new jobs and as the medical office building once it's fully open and functional by December, it adds another 400 so we're talking 700 jobs brought to this campus," said Claypool.
It's a state of the art facility built with plans to expand.
"We knew the demand in Clay County was there, we built to get the 64 beds open and then we will grow with our community to meet their needs to become that 250 bed hospital without every even having to impact the main entrance," said Claypool.
At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Claypool pulled the cover off the emergency sign, officially opening the hospital.