Lakeland Regional Health and Watson Clinic Innovate to Make Medical Care Safe for the Community

Lakeland, FL – Today, Lakeland Regional Health and Watson Clinic announced unprecedented efforts to ensure medical care remains safe for this community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are so grateful for the way our team, our colleagues and our community have come together to care for those affected by COVID-19,” said Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, Lakeland Regional Health President and CEO Elect. “We are so appreciative of the collaborative work being done between Lakeland Regional Health and Watson Clinic and are excited to be able to find innovative solutions to ensure the safest possible medical environment for all patients throughout our sites.”

“The health and safety of our patients, care team members and physicians, is our top priority,” says Watson Clinic Managing Partner Dr. Steve Achinger. “Watson Clinic is open and remains committed to helping patients address their health concerns during this pandemic with their continued well-patient appointments and have the necessary precautions in place that allow us to provide this safely for our patients.”

One of the biggest innovations is dividing Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center into “two zones.” There are designated patient towers and emergency room pods that will house respiratory patients including COVID-19 patients and other patient towers and emergency room pods that will not. As Florida’s fifth largest hospital, the 864-bed Medical Center and the 133-bed Emergency Department have the unique ability to isolate COVID-19 patients from other patients by more than just a door or hallway. At Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, COVID-19 patients are treated in a separate patient towers using completely separate air handling systems.

“We’ve gone so far as to map out the air ductwork so that patients to minimize any potential air exchange between the two zones,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, President, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center/Chief Medical Officer, Lakeland Regional Health. “We don’t want anyone to delay seeking vital and necessary life-saving medical care out of fear of coming to our campuses and catching COVID-19.”

To further provide peace of mind to patients, Lakeland Regional Health has created a Call-Ahead Service for its Main Emergency Department and Children’s Emergency Department. By calling  863.687.1414, a patient has an exam room waiting for them upon arrival, thus bypassing the waiting room.

In addition, Lakeland Regional Health has dedicated an offsite location for patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. These patients can be seen at our Respiratory Care Center, located at 320 Parkview Place. At Watson Clinic, employees work diligently to create a safe environment for patients and their families. Among the safety measures patients will find at Watson Clinic are:

  • Care team members and physicians are required to wear a mask and other personal protective
    equipment as appropriate for their department.
  • COVID-19 screening checkpoints are performed at the entrance of locations.
  • Temperatures of patients are taken at Clinic site entrances, and temperatures of all team
    members are taken daily.
  • Segregated well and ill patient waiting areas are provided at most sites.
  • Telemedicine Video Visits are now an option for patients.

To continue to ensure that residents stay well and safe, Lakeland Regional Health is pleased to announce it is establishing a Community COVID-19 Resource Center to assist other organizations with creating COVID-safe environments for their customers, students and employees. Small and large local businesses, public and private schools and colleges and universities will utilize the expertise found
through the Resource Center. Several already have expressed interest in using these services before reopening.

“Lakeland Regional Health was fortunate to rely on our exceptional Infection Control team to guide us as we treated patients and created Policies and Procedures, everything from food handling and housekeeping to human resources and visitation policies,” said Patrick Phillips, Lakeland Regional Health Senior Vice President of Business Development and Chief Strategy Officer. “We are excited to be able to share this evidence-based work with the community to ensure that our community stays safe and well no matter where they go.”

About Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center
Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center is Florida’s fifth largest hospital. Founded in 1916 as Morrell Memorial Hospital, this 864-bed, comprehensive tertiary referral hospital operates the Jack and Tina Harrell Family Institute for Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine; a Level II Trauma Center; the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, which includes a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine. The Medical Center holds high-level accreditations for its Certified Comprehensive Center and Chest Pain Center. Three hybrid operating rooms and a catheterization lab offer patients the least invasive surgeries possible and enhanced safety. The Medical Center is home to the nation’s busiest single site Emergency Department and handles over 3,000 trauma visits annually.

About Watson Clinic LLP
As one of the largest multispecialty medical clinics in the southeast, Watson Clinic provides comprehensive healthcare services to residents of Lakeland and surrounding communities. First established in 1941, Watson Clinic has grown to include over 220 board-certified physicians representing more than 40 medical and surgical specialties.  The Clinic is proud to deliver quality healthcare to every generation from our Main Clinic location at 1600 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in Lakeland, as well as at multiple convenient locations throughout Polk, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. More information is available at: