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$46 million expansion opening at Jupiter Medical Center

Speeding recovery and boosting patient care are the emphasis for the new $46 million Florence A. De George Pavilion opening today at Jupiter Medical Center, according to hospital officials.

“We want our patients after a surgery up and socializing as soon as possible. That is a very important part of the recovery process,” said John Couris, the center’s president and chief executive, standing in the Anderson Family Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence.

The center is part of the Florence A. De George Pavilion, an 85,000-square-foot building with 44 patient rooms. The three-story center includes areas for surgery, recovery and rehabilitation.

JMC, a nonprofit hospital with 1,600 employees — including about 600 physicians — is the largest employer in Jupiter. The 327-bed center, opened in 1979, also has about 650 volunteers.

“It’s good to see JMC growing. The hospital is an integral part of the community,” said Jupiter Councilman Jim Kuretski.

The third-floor women’s services unit includes eight labor rooms, 14 post-delivery rooms and two C-section operating suites. Suites offer overnight facilities to accommodate fathers or labor partners. There is a lounge for family members.

“About 1,200 babies were delivered at Jupiter Medical Center last year. We expect that to increase to about 2,000 with the expansion,” Couris said.

The second-story orthopedic center has a surgery area, 30 private patient rooms, an on-site gym for rehabilitation therapy, a family room and a dining room.

And on the first floor is the cafeteria which features 24-hour room service. Three-page menus will offer a wide variety of choices for patients, said Kathleen Ahern, the hospital’s director of marketing.

“Usually, hospitals offer chicken or fish, like a wedding. This is much better,” Ahern said.

Stepping past the soothing portraits of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Juno Beach Pier in the well-lighted lobby, Couris walked into one of the 14 post-delivery rooms. Cookie-cutter design might not sell houses, but having all rooms the same was the goal for the new facility. It’s called “evidence-based design” in the hospital biz.

“The sink is here, the bathroom is there and the computer terminal is right here — the same place in every room. And notice how you don’t have to step up to get in the shower,” said Couris. “It’s all part of making the rooms easier for patients and staff.”

Expenses add up quickly in hospital construction, Couris said. The two C-section rooms together cost $2.5 million. The computer system was $1 million. The 44 hospital beds each cost about $23,000.

The DeGeorge Pavilion is another step in expansion for JMC.

— The nonprofit Jupiter Medical Center is partnering with NuVista Living and Scripps Research Institute to build the Institute for Healthy Living that will include a 129-bed nursing home, 70-bed assisted-living facility and 30-bed center for people with brain disorders. The $70 million medical research center in Abacoa is under construction and expected to be finished next spring.

— JMC plans four more medical clinics in the next five years between West Palm Beach and Hobe Sound. The latest recently opened on the north side of Indiantown Road next to Harmony Animal Hospital. Hours at the $600,000 center are seven days a week, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

— In April, JMC plans to open the $13 million Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center.

The expansion in out-patient care and research is a reflection of how technology continues to change the medical industry, Couris said.

“Filling beds used to be the focus of the hospital industry. Now, we can do more outpatient care. People can recover at home. We are evolving to remain successful,” Couris said.

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