Pre-Procedure Testing Requirement

For your safety we are requiring all patients having a procedure under anesthesia or sedation to have a COVID-19 test 48-72 hours prior to your hospital visit.
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  • Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy at Memorial Healthcare System

    Moffitt Myeloma Institute Established at Memorial Hospital West

    The Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy program, established in partnership with Memorial Healthcare System in 2017, has created a multiple myeloma institute at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines. The new specialization has added oncologists to treat those with cancer in their bone marrow and will conduct research to benefit newly-diagnosed and relapsed blood cancer patients. The myeloma institute is the only one of its kind in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

    “We’re always looking to provide our community the most innovative and highest quality healthcare available anywhere,” said Memorial Hospital West CEO Leah Carpenter, “and this advancement with our partners at Moffitt does that for cancer patients.” 

    One immediate area of focus is an immunotherapy clinical trial that will provide additional treatment options to patients with multiple myeloma, a disease where cancerous cells form within plasma cells of bone marrow. Called CAR-T cell therapy, it’s administered like a blood transfusion and involves genetically altering the T cells so they produce synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, which enable them to recognize and attach to a certain protein in tumor cells and kill them.

    “We see 70-80 new multiple myeloma cases each year and more than 300 with relapse disease so, while not every patient will be a CAR-T candidate, we’re hoping many more will be as the trial progresses,” said Dr. Claudia Paba Prada, an assistant member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy at Memorial Healthcare System. “We’re using drugs under research that aren’t available anywhere else in Florida.”

    There isn’t a cure for multiple myeloma, but immunotherapy, which harnesses the strength of the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer cells, can be used to get an individual to a stem-cell transplant or maintain quality of life for those who aren’t transplant candidates. It can be used instead of or to supplement chemotherapy and is usually less toxic to the body.

    Moffitt expects to begin treating leukemia and lymphoma patients with FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapies at Memorial Hospital West in the coming year. 

  • Hospital Board Further Reduces Millage Rate Even After Covering Increased Expenses from COVID-19

    The Board of Commissioners of the South Broward Hospital District, which oversees the operations for Memorial Healthcare System, voted on a new millage rate during its September board meeting. The Board voted to adopt a millage rate of 0.1199.

    This is the tenth year in a row that the Board has voted to lower the overall millage rate for the District with 0.1199 resulting in the lowest rate in the history of the South Broward Hospital District. The 0.1199 millage rate represents a 4.84 percent decrease from last year’s rate of 0.1260. The resulting gross tax revenues are estimated to reach $7.8 million.

    “These are unprecedented times for our healthcare system and our community, and we continue to face and manage many challenges. Given Memorial’s outstanding leadership and sound financial stewardship, we felt confident to pass on these savings to the communities we serve,” said Douglas Harrison, Chairman, South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners.

    After accounting for early payment discounts and a certain percentage of uncollectible taxes, the anticipated tax payments this year of $7.6 million will provide the District enough revenue to cover its governmental obligations, which include paying Broward County’s Medicaid Match program and community redevelopment agencies in several municipalities in south Broward County, as well as tax collector commissions and property appraiser fees.

    The newly adopted millage rate will leave no net tax revenue to fund uncompensated care. The District will use operating income to cover all uncompensated care costs for the entire Memorial Healthcare System, including its six hospitals and its nine Memorial Primary Care clinics. In fiscal year 2021, uncompensated care is projected to exceed $1.6 billion.

    This historic reduction comes at a time when Memorial Healthcare System has responded with excellence, dedication and leadership to the COVID-19 pandemic and the community it serves, providing life-saving care to thousands of patients while keeping its frontline workforce safe. In addition, it continues to train the doctors and nurses of the future. The Graduate Medical Education Program has now an expanded list of 12 residencies, including two fellowship programs in cardiovascular disease and hematology and medical oncology.

    On the technological front, Memorial expanded access to care through telehealth consults from primary to specialty care to maintain continuity of care during physical restriction periods due to the pandemic. It has added new tools to Memorial MyChart, and continues its successful “Your Right to Know” initiative – providing consumers with an Amazon-like experience in obtaining medical procedure pricing information. Memorial also remains one of only a handful of public hospitals in the nation to achieve AA, Aa3 financial ratings by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively.

    “We have an amazing leadership team,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, President and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System. “This team has been very responsive throughout the COVID pandemic, while working diligently to maintain a sound financial structure that allow us to reduce the millage rate to the lowest one in the history of our organization.”

  • freedom on school bus

    Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Educates Families On How To Safely “Return To School” During COVID-19 Pandemic

    While students went “back to school” in August, they will soon return to the physical classroom. The medical team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH) in South Florida wants to ensure families are prepared for the new normal when it comes to in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Returning to school this fall will require schools and families to work together more than ever before.

    According to Ronald Ford, MD, chief medical officer at JDCH, if the schools can comply with the mitigation strategies put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including social distancing of at least six feet, mask wearing and frequent handwashing, then it should be safe for children to return to school.

    Additionally, it is especially important that parents hold their individual school and school district accountable for strictly adhering to those policies for safe operation.

    “Parents need to arm themselves with all the information provided by the school system so they are informed as to what is being done to keep kids, teachers and staff safe and to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Ford. “I would strongly encourage parents to speak with their children about what is happening in the classroom every day to ensure measures and safety plans are being followed.”

    Currently, positive cases of COVID-19 in children continue to slowly increase, with the largest positive population being high school aged, according to state statistics.

    While at least 25% of children who test positive are asymptomatic, a portion of them will exhibit symptoms ranging from fever, sore throat and cough to diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting and/or body aches.

    The guidelines for testing children set forth by the CDC advise to test children for coronavirus as soon as they display any of the wide range of symptoms.

    Lina Puntervold, JDCH infection control practitioner, has created 10 tips to help families return to school safely.

    1. Practice Mask Wearing

    While most of us have grown accustomed to wearing a mask for a quick trip to the grocery store, wearing a mask for an extended period may take some getting used to, regardless of age. During these next few days, have your child wear a mask at home for the same amount of time they would be wearing it at school.

    2. Monitor and Re-Direct

    While your child practices wearing their mask for an extended period, take this time to supervise their behaviors. Are they constantly touching their mask or trying to readjust? If they are reaching for their face, remind them to sanitize their hands prior to fixing their mask.

    3. Safe Mask Removal

    Although children should wear their mask all day at school, they will need to remove their masks during lunch time. Make sure they know to sanitize their hands before removing their mask, and then place it neatly on a paper towel, so it does not touch the table surface. After lunch, sanitize their hands again before placing the mask back on their face.

    4. Pack an Extra Mask

    Anything can happen at school (i.e., sneeze, mask accidentally falls on the floor, sweaty from P.E.). “Packing an extra mask ensures your child will continue to be safe, even when accidents happen,” said Puntervold.

    5. Show Kids How Germs Can Be Transmitted

    Using glitter is a great way to teach your child visually how easily germs are spread. Place a little glitter on a phone, iPad, remote control, game controller, hairbrush or toothbrush and then set a timer. When time is up, show them the glitter found on all the surfaces they touched and explain that the glitter represents how easily germs spread.

    Take it one step further if they still have glitter on their hands and proper hand washing. This teachable moment demonstrates why we need to disinfect high touch/high traffic areas (i.e., doorknobs, light switches, remote controls) regularly.

    6. After School Game Plans Are Key

    Where will kids put dirty masks that need to be laundered? The CDC recommends we launder our masks daily. Consider the mask as a new extension of your child’s uniform or school attire.

    How many masks do you think you will need to meet the needs of daily laundering?

    7. Kids Should BYOS (Bring Your Own Sanitizer) To School Daily

    Clean hands are extremely important to ensure we are healthy and infection-free. Pack at least one hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack. Make sure to go over the proper way to use hand sanitizer on the tops and bottoms of hands and fingers. Don’t forget in between the fingers too!

    8. Sharing is Not Caring in The COVID-19 Era

    “While we all encourage sharing and inclusivity, remind your child that sharing school supplies is not a good idea now,” added Puntervold. Consider packing extra items if your child may want to share supplies with a classmate. Remind your child to maintain physical distance while at school.

    Even if a friend looks like they need a hug, kind words are just as wonderful.

    9. Be a Good Listener

    Children rely on their parents for comfort and guidance. Take the time to answer any questions your child may have about the current situation (i.e., pandemic, school opening, etc.). Acknowledge you child’s feelings, be positive and encourage open conversation about whatever it is they may be feeling.

    10. Manage Kid’s Expectation

    Daily school activities will look different. While most children will be excited to see their teachers and friends, gently explain the new school protocols and why they may not receive a welcoming hug from their teacher or a high-five from a friend.

    Lunchtime? Field trips? Class parties? Classroom setups? Lockers?

    Take time to go over the day-to-day school expectations with your child. This conversation will help your child have a smoother and more accepting transition to the new protocols.

    Whether children return to the classroom or continue to learn from home, visit these helpful resources for families about COVID-19.