New health facility begins serving its first patients

Dave Globig, CEO of Aviv Clinic in The Villages, walks from a hyperbaric chamber at the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood.

The Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood’s first patients are stepping inside. Some tenants of the four-story, 240,000-square-foot medical facility near Brownwood Paddock Square recently started seeing patients, and others are coming online soon. Watching the project come to life has been a dream come true for the specialists providing care there, said Bob Goldstein, CEO of Lake Centre for Rehabilitation, one of the first tenants to open. “I have to pinch myself sometimes when I look around,” Goldstein said.  St. Luke’s at The Villages, The Villages Health, Lake Medical Imaging and Aviv Clinic also have started seeing patients in the building. When all tenants are moved in, the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood will house more than 25 outpatient specialties. The facility’s presence is a milestone in the making for The Villages medical community. Bringing together multiple providers under the same roof has many benefits for patients, according to Dr. Cathrine Keller, managing physician for Lake Medical Imaging.

“It will make health care for the Villagers even easier, more coordinated and more convenient than before,” she said.

Braulio Vicente, executive director for specialty care for The Villages Health predicts the ongoing collaboration taking place at the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood will breed expanded local health care services for patients in the future.

“Over time, it will create an environment where providers can come together to discuss and to develop programs that currently our patients have to travel out of the area for,” Vicente said.

Local patients have long taken a proactive approach to their health care, said Dr. Kimberly Ireland, medical director at St. Luke’s at The Villages, and have high expectations for providers to help them live their best lives. 

“I very much appreciate that they’re engaged in their own well-being and advocate for their own health and health care,” she said.

Patients already are benefiting from new or upgraded technology at the practices that have opened.

Lake Centre for Rehabilitation, which offers physical, occupational and speech therapy, has a new balance system at its fifth Villages location.

That includes an overhead track, which allows patients with neurological or gait disorders to move safely and independently during therapy sessions, Goldstein said.

Lake Medical Imaging patients also will have access to new technology in its 20,000-square-foot office, its largest in The Villages.

This location will offer cardiac MRI for the first time and will use a 3 Tesla MRI, which has a stronger magnet, Keller said. The office held a soft opening this week.

Setup for some imaging options will continue for several weeks, she said, but providers have started conducting mammography, X-rays and ultrasound, and will have CT and MRI scans started by next week.

The new office provides access closer to home for Southern residents of The Villages.

“It makes it easier for them to get to the health care imaging they need,” she said.

St. Luke’s at The Villages was looking for an opportunity to reach patients farther south and to serve a growing population, Ireland said.

The ophthalmology practice, which also has an office and surgery center at Lake Sumter Landing, doubled its size with the Brownwood location.

“We want to grow alongside this community and help it along the way,” Ireland said. “We’re thrilled with how things are going, and we look forward to our neighbor practices starting to see patients.”

Providers of The Villages Health, housed on the third and fourth floors of the building, held their first phase of opening this week and will complete the move June 15, Vicente said.

The majority of its specialists will work from the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood’s 70,000-square-foot space moving forward, though specialty-care patients still will be seen at the Specialty Care Center at Spanish Springs.

TVH’s Brownwood Care Center will revert to a primary-care center.

At the Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood, The Villages Health’s Audiology Department also has its own space on the first floor to provide a full scope of audiology services, said Al Turri, doctor of audiology and director of the department.

“We have a lot of equipment that we haven’t had before in The Villages Health,” said Vjolka Zaka, doctor of audiology. “The rotary chair is one of our most prized possessions.”

That equipment is used to diagnose dizzy and balance conditions. Zaka is looking forward to being completely up and running by June 15.

While many providers are expanding services they’ve already been offering locally, one newly opened tenant is making its U.S. debut. Aviv Clinic is focused on improving cognitive and physical performance in healthy aging adults through a program with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Patients breathe in pressurized oxygen in an enclosed chamber that looks like the inside of an airplane, complete with cushioned recliners and tablets.

The Aviv program is based on over a decade of research at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, the largest hyperbaric center in the world.

Research suggests the therapy — often used to treat victims of burns, carbon monoxide poisoning and serious wounds — also may help boost cognitive and physical ability in healthy aging adults.

“We aspire more than ever to enhance and extend our health span — the period of life where one feels healthy, active and vital in both body and mind,” said David Globig, CEO of Aviv Clinic.

Other tenants also will open their doors in the coming weeks and months including LabCorp, Florida Cancer Specialists, Walgreens, EyeSite of The Villages and a coffee shop.

Construction continues on an outpatient surgery center on the second floor, which Vicente said is expected to open late this year or early next.

Senior writer Ciara Varone can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5395, or ciara.varone@thevillagesmedia.com.