Tampa General Hospital, listed by U.S. News and World Report , last year as the Number One hospital in Florida, and one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation in nine specialities in their annual report on hospitals in the U.S. is having to organize a new financial strategy in this era of hospital mergers, fiscal challenges and massive changes in all of the health care industry will likely become this region's only independent general hospital.
All eyes are on St. Petersburg and the fate of their last independent medical center, Bayfront which, pending final approval by the city of St. Petersburg which owns the land under the hospital, to merge with a major for-profit medical enterprise.
By all accounts in the medical industry, that is a done deal.
Tampa General Hospital is the mecca.
Doesn't matter if you have a burned thumb, a raging cough, are in a serious accident, or running a serious fever, or have a life-threatening condition, when there is a medical emergency, you head for TGH.
Whether on foot, by car, by ambulance or on one of the five transport helicopters the hospital uses to transport the seriously ill or injured to their level one trauma center - the only one in the Tampa Bay area - or to their burn center, one of only four in Florida, or to their transplant center, the fourth busiest in the country, from one of 23 counties around the area.
TGH has more than a thousand beds, 6,600 employees working around the clock, and last year alone, more than 84,000 people came through the doors of that level one trauma center seeking help for, well a burned thumb, a broken foot, a raging cough, an out of control fever, or a life-threatening injury or illness.
And many of those people seeking medical help through the emergency room cannot afford it.
Be they the working poor, the homeless, or the uninsured, the tab for their turn in the triage line and treatment in the ER is largely picked up by a combination of federal aid, Medicaid and the $3.5 million allocated to the hospital annually for treatment of the indigent by the Hillsborough County Commission.
And the Hillsborough County Commissioners, and a lot of people at TGH and their teaching partner, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine which supplies 300 hundred residents who work in the hospital are breathing a sigh of relief at what seems to be a lessoning of the tension between the medical school dean, Dr. Stephan Klasko, and the management of TGH with the naming of a new CEO, Jim Burkhar to replace the retiring outgoing hospital CEO, Ron Hytoff.
The rivalry between the dean and the outgoing CEO took on, well soap opera proportions during the past months and resulted in the signing of only a one-year contract between the two entities - which is usually ten years - so that a new contract could be negotiated by the new CEO.
Yeah, soap opera. Even The Hillsborough County Commisioners made a plea to the two principals in the feud to lay down the long knives and get back to business.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn -whose wife is a well known USF-TGH physician chimed in by saying, "Neither one of them can afford to survive without the other, they are going to have to succeed together, or they're going to fail alone.'
Egos. A doctor, and a forceful CEO of Florida's Number One Hospital. Who would have guessed.
For the time being, everybody over at that building on Davis Islands where lives are saved and bettered every day seem to be going about their business of doing just that, saving lives and helping people with the burned thumb, and the tummy ache, and the raging cough and fever and the life threatening illness or injury.
And a new contract, drawn up by the new CEO and the good doctor at USF and approved by all will be just what the doctor ordered to keep the only independent general hospital in the region running smoothly.