Suwannee and
Starke ER Open and Providing Critical Emergency Services

-Photo: LCMC

Live Oak, Fla., – More than 70,000 Residents of Bradford and Suwannee Counties
~ North Florida Regional Medical Center and Lake City Medical Center assume operations of former Shands Live
Oak/Starke, maintaining emergency services and providing access to the HCA Healthcare network ~
GAINESVILLE, Fla./LAKE CITY, Fla. – Today, HCA Healthcare North Florida Division affiliate hospitals,
North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC) and Lake City Medical Center (LCMC), announced the
purchase of former Shands Live Oak and Shands Starke Regional Medical Centers, and subsequent
opening of full-service emergency departments Starke ER and Suwannee ER serving more than 70,000
residents in Bradford and Suwannee Counties. Emergency services are the most utilized healthcare
service in both counties, and emergency care will be provided from board-certified emergency
physicians, 365 days per year for both pediatric and adult patients. Additionally, HCA Healthcare North
Florida Division pledged to hire colleagues that currently serve these communities at both Shands
hospitals, and as of May 1, the new ERs employ nearly 100 colleagues with plans to expand as patient
volume increases.


“Our commitment to the purchase and operation of Starke ER and Suwannee ER ensures that there will
be no lapse in emergency care for the families and individuals who rely on these critical 24/7 emergency
services. We are also grateful to add so many exceptional caregivers to our HCA Healthcare team who
are excited to continue to serve this community with pride and compassion,” said Eric Lawson, CEO of
North Florida Regional Medical Center. “During a time when COVID-19 is a focus, both emergency
departments will apply the best practices of HCA Healthcare and the strict guidance from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to ensure healthcare professionals at each of the facilities can safely and
effectively care for potential and positive COVID19 patients, while also serving patients who visit the ER
for non-COVID-related care.”


For months, NFRMC and LCMC, have been focused on efforts to prepare for any potential impacts of
COVID-19 including updating clinical guidelines, training on personal protective equipment,
implementing visitor restrictions and health screening protocols, and launching universal masking to
ensure every caregiver has the right mask at the right time to stop the spread of infection and protect
our colleagues and patients. These universal protections have now been implemented in both ERs to
ensure our emergency rooms continue to be a safe place to seek care for all health-related needs.


With Suwannee ER and Starke ER becoming part of the HCA Healthcare network, patients who need
admission to either NFRMC or LCMC will experience a more seamless and cost-effective transition, and
attending caregivers will have access to integrated technologies, such as PatientKeeper and the Sepsis
Prediction and Optimization of Therapy (SPOT) tool offered through HCA Healthcare that help improve
patient care. PatientKeeper is a mobile app that provides caregivers access to a single view of their
patients’ information across a variety of hospital systems, and SPOT is a real-time tool driven by artificial
intelligence that quickly identifies patients with sepsis. SPOT together with the use of evidence-based
clinical interventions, has helped save an estimated 8,000 lives in the last five years.


“Both of our hospitals have had a long-standing relationship in caring, treating and supporting patients
in both the Starke and Live Oak and we’re proud to expand our care options with the addition of
Suwannee ER and Starke ER,” said Rick Naegler, CEO of Lake City Medical Center. “Being a part of HCA
Healthcare provides our hospitals and our patients access to an international network of data, resources
and supplies that allow us better care for our patients and to quickly scale our response to meet the
needs of the community. Time and time again, HCA Healthcare has collaborated with local, state and
federal government officials, and community organizations, to make certain the community receives
support in times of great need such as this.”
As an example of this, HCA Healthcare’s chief executive officer, Sam Hazen, recently met with the
president and health care executives at the White House to announce the “Dynamic Ventilator
Reserve,” a new public-private COVID-19 effort aimed at allowing hospitals to get critically needed
ventilators to hard-hit areas. Additionally, HCA Healthcare recently partnered with Google Cloud and
SADA to launch the COVID-19 National Response Portal to promote data-sharing about the COVID-19
pandemic and how it is spreading in an effort to help hospitals and communities prepare and respond.
Added Lawson, “During these challenging times, and always, our caring colleagues are here to support
these communities. We are proud to welcome the Suwannee ER and Starke ER into the HCA Healthcare
family and to do our part in our community to fulfil our mission – above all else, we are committed to
the care and improvement of human life.”


About North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC): NFRMC is a 432 bed, full-service medical and surgical
acute care center serving North Central Florida for over 45 years. NFRMC offers comprehensive cardiovascular
care, oncology, orthopedics, neurosciences, minimally-invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, weight loss
surgery and treatment, women’s health and wound therapy, among other services. NFRMC is fully accredited by
the Joint Commission, is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, an Accredited Chest Pain Center by ACC
(American College of Cardiology), and is designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and Bariatric
Surgery. NFRMC has also received the highest scores available recognizing their commitment to patient safety and
quality of care.


About Lake City Medical Center (LCMC): LCMC is a 91-bed acute care hospital serving the communities of
Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties for over 60 years. Lake City Medical Center offers medical and surgical
programs including 24-hour emergency care, cardiovascular care, interventional cardiology, orthopedics, cancer
care, imaging, and rehabilitation services. Lake City Medical Center is an Accredited Primary Stroke Center by The
Joint Commission, an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology, and has achieved
Disease Specific Certification in the treatment of Sepsis by the Joint Commission. The Medical Center has been
named the area's Best of the Best Hospital 20 years in a row and employer of choice in 2019 by the Lake City-
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please visit Lakecitymedical.com


About HCA Healthcare North Florida Division: The HCA Healthcare North Florida Division is a comprehensive
network of 14 hospitals, numerous outpatient surgery centers & imaging facilities, physician practices, medical
education training programs and a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the
healthcare needs of residents and businesses in the North Florida and Central Florida communities.


Healthcare North Florida physicians and employees continue to provide the quality foundation for delivering care
to our patients safely, effectively and compassionately. Its hospitals are Joint Commission Accredited, with
designations such as Accredited Chest Pain Centers, Primary Stroke Center Certification and four Level II Trauma
Centers in Marion, Okaloosa, Osceola and Seminole county.