South Florida Hospital News
Friday February 26, 2021

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June 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 12


BHMC Celebrates 75th Anniversary, Looks Ahead to Future

As Broward Health Medical Center (BHMC) turns 75, the county’s first hospital is celebrating a proud legacy of achievement. Yet it has never lost sight of its steadfast commitment to providing the best possible medical care to the entire community.
“First, we are a safety net hospital for the entire community regardless of ability to pay,” said the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Calvin Glidewell. “We have a rich heritage to live up to, and we are proud to have had many firsts in Broward, and in the state. While we intend to stay on the cutting edge of new technology, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the patient experience and our focus on the needs of the community.”
In the late1930s, a committee known as the Broward Hospital Association collected public funds and private contributions to establish the community’s first hospital, located in the renovated Granada Apartment building on Southeast First Avenue.
Known as Broward General Hospital, the facility opened its doors on January 2, 1938, with donated equipment, 45 beds, one operating room and one delivery room. What it did not have was air conditioning or heating. One of the early doctors who practiced there remembers that patients hid under blankets to keep warm during cold snaps.
In coming decades, the hospital bought three blocks around the original structure, allowing room for expansion. Today, the 716-bed facility offers a broad array of primary, surgical and tertiary services and a full range of women’s and children’s services, including the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital.
“We provide complex and sophisticated services,” Glidewell noted. “Two years ago, we received approval for a liver transplant program, and will begin a kidney transplant program this summer. We’ve built a ‘hybrid’ room that brings together imaging services, a cardiac catheter laboratory and surgical suite in a single room, allowing us to do new kinds of cardiovascular procedures. This summer, we will open a new state-of-the art orthopedic building that offers joint and hip replacements, active sports medicine and a wellness center.”
Other notable “firsts” in the hospital’s history include:
• The first electrocardiogram machine in Broward (‘50s)
• The first in the nation to hire emergency room physicians (‘60s)
• The first cardiac catheterization lab (‘70s)
• The first in Broward to use nuclear medicine as a diagnostic tool (‘70s)
• The first Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine in the county (‘80s)
As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) converts hospitals from a pay-for-procedure to a pay-for-performance reimbursement system, BHMC is working even more closely with its physician partners to develop new kinds of arrangements - not just to care for hospitalized patients, but also to address their needs for pre-and post-hospital stays.
“Our goal is to look more holistically at the health of the population we serve,” said Glidewell. “We will not just treat their illnesses, but focus on keeping people healthy so they can stay out of the hospital and getting them into the most appropriate treatment regimen when they are discharged.
The hospital is also working to enhance the patient experience through some novel approaches. “We’ve brought in a chief experience officer from the Ritz-Carlton hotel system, which is very well known for its focus on customers,” he said. “We are beginning to incorporate some of their ideas and techniques into our employee training to ensure that we provide an excellent patient experience.”
He noted that most important, the hospital is working to engage the patient in his or her care – empowering them to have a key role in terms of their treatment and care as a patient.
While many things have changed over the past 75 years, some things have not. “Our steadfast commitment to the community remains the same,” said Glidewell. “We understand and relish our role as a major healthcare resource for the community. While we are dedicated to innovative, technological leadership, we are making sure that we never lose touch with the needs of individual patients when they come to the hospital.”
He added that in the next 75 years, BHMC will make sure it engineers its systems to provide for more chronic, as well as acute, care as the population ages into its ‘80s and ‘90s.
“We will collaborate with our physicians and hospital staff to continually reinvent ourselves in the changing healthcare environment,” he said. “We want to make sure we are at the forefront so we can be the kind of hospital system that people want to access for years to come.”
For more information about Broward Health Medical Center, call (954) 355-4400 or visit
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