Edward White Hospital to close by late November

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – Seven months after holding a town hall meeting to reach out directly to the LGBT community, Edward White Hospital in downtown St. Petersburg will shutter its doors. Owner HCA West Florida announced the decision to close the hospital in a statement Sept. 23.

It cited operational expenses, a significant rise in unoccupied hospital beds and the age of the hospital.

“Therefore, we have made the decision that the community would benefit most if further investment is focused on consolidating Edward White’s clinical services with those of our other facilities in the area,” HCA West Florida president PEter Marmerstein was quoted as saying in a statement. Other facilities include Northside Hospital, Palms of Pasedena Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital.

The statement said Edward White Hospital should close before Nov. 24.

In March 2014, Edward White CEO Sharon Hayes welcomed guests to a small forum and reached out to LGBT leaders for support.

“We have a deep seeded belief in treating our patients with respect and dignity,” Hayes said in that meeting. Isn’t it sad that we even need to talk about that?”

The meeting was in partnership with Metro Wellness and Community Centers, who encouraged local LGBTs to utilize the hospital.

Hayes and members of the hospital’s board have been regulars at LGBT events, from St. Pete Pride’s Red & Green fundraiser last December to Equality Florida’s St. Petersburg Gala in the spring.

It’s unclear what will happen to the staff of Edward White when the hospital closes its doors, but the statement by Marmerstein said HCA West Florida will do its best to place those employees in other facilities.

Management and human resources teams will assist hospital employees in determining career opportunities at other HCA affiliated facilities and with other employers. Job fairs and career transition seminars will also be made available to hospital employees.

“Over the coming months, HCA West Florida will work closely with Edward White Hospital’s medical staff to ensure continuity of care for their patients by assisting physicians with their transitions to other HCA affiliated hospitals,” the statement says.

The statement says 85 percent of hospital employees should be able to find similar jobs at other area HCA facilities.

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