SRMC Celebrates 40 Years

from left to right: Kelly Enriquez, Chief Operating Officer, John McEachern, Chief Financial Officer, Steven Salyer, Chief Executive Officer,  and Anna Brooks, Chief Nursing Executive

The year was 1965, and Dr. Kip Kelso dreamed of bringing a first-class hospital to Sebastian. A resident of Roseland, Kelso watched as hundreds of lots were bought and sold in the Sebastian Highlands, and he knew those people would soon need a hospital.

When Kelso visited the World’s Fair in New York, he got his first glimpse of a futuristic facility called the “atomedic hospital.” Designed as an exhibit and to serve as a medical clinic for the fair’s 80 million visitors, the mostly aluminum structure was round and windowless – it looked nothing like a typical hospital. Kelso was fascinated by the building, so he purchased it and had the disassembled structure shipped to his property on U.S. 1 near the banks of the Sebastian River.

After a long battle with the Florida State Board of Health, a temporary permit to open the hospital was finally granted. But the fight to open the facility had taken its toll on Kelso and his resources. Eventually, there was a change in ownership and a grand opening was planned. But it was not to be – the structure Kelso hoped to be Sebastian’s first hospital burned to the ground in 1971.

That fire didn’t stop him, though. Kelso organized a group of developers and consultants to do a feasibility study for a new hospital. Finally, thanks to his perseverance and persistence, Kelso’s dream of a first-class facility in Sebastian was realized in February of 1974 when the 103-bed hospital opened its doors. Later that year, the hospital signed a management agreement with American Medicorp.

Humana purchased the hospital in 1978 and added 30 beds, along with wards for obstetrics and substance abuse. It again changed hands in 1993, when Health Management Associates purchased the hospital and began upgrading the facility and its services.

In October 2010, a $25 million expansion project was completed. A modern, 16-bed Intensive Care Unit was added along with 42 private patient room suites. Shortly after construction of the patient tower was completed, more than $3 million was invested in a brand-new cardiac catheterization lab. In 2013, a second cath lab was added to meet the demand for interventional cardiology services.

Fully accredited by the Joint Commission, Sebastian River Medical Center is licensed for 154 beds and provides personalized, quality health care to residents and visitors of Sebastian and the surrounding communities. SRMC’s team consists of over 100 physicians, a nursing and ancillary staff of approximately 500, and a volunteer staff of 200.

Sebastian River Medical Center offers a wide array of surgical services, including orthopedic, sports medicine, thoracic oncology, neurosurgery, endovascular and brings the latest technology and treatment to the Treasure Coast. Innovative tools used for surgery include the daVinci® Surgical System, a breakthrough surgical platform that facilitates complex procedures so patients experience less pain and a faster return to normal activities, as well as MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Resurfacing and MAKOplasty® Total Hip Replacement.

SRMC offers a full suite of cardiac services including diagnostic and interventional cardiology, as well as hospital-based Cardiac, Pulmonary and Physical Rehabilitation Programs, a Sleep Disorders Center, Sebastian River Home Health and the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine.

Those needing emergency medical care can rest easy knowing that the hospital is equipped with a state-of-the-art emergency room, and an ER staff member or physician will see patients within minutes of arrival.

Sebastian River Medical Center was given an “A” rating by the Leapfrog Group for two years in a row and designated as a Top 100 Hospital in America by Healthgrades, in addition to consistently being recognized for clinical excellence. SRMC, a Certified Primary Stroke Center, announced a partnership in 2012 with the University of Florida and Shands Health Care in treating heart and stroke emergencies. Thanks to this alliance, SRMC has access to nationally and internationally recognized physicians 24 hours a day, every day.

In 2013, SRMC was awarded the Center of Excellence designation by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This designation allows Sebastian River Medical Center to provide bariatric surgical care for recipients of medicare and select medicaid plans and recognizes the highest level of quality for weight loss surgery.

Sebastian River Medical Center has come a long way since Dr. Kelso first dreamed of opening a community hospital. However, SRMC is proud to say that the main focus for staff, physicians and volunteers still remains clear: to provide quality health care with the highest level of caring and compassion on the Treasure Coast.

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