Neuroscience center at Tradition: Competitor or adjunct for IRMC’s comprehensive stroke center

Less than a month after Indian River Medical Center hired away a team of stroke specialists from Lawnwood Medical Center, gaining the capacity overnight to earn the prestigious designation of comprehensive stroke center, Martin Health has announced it plans to open an even larger, more extensive center at its Tradition Medical Center.

The development, construction and equipping of the center would cost close to $30 million, according to Martin Health spokesman Scott Samples.

“We are looking to develop a neuroscience center, which would encompass our neurosurgeons, neurologists and pain management specialists, as well as ancillary services such as diagnostic imaging and physical therapy,” said Samples.

At this juncture, the plan is to build not only a comprehensive stroke center, but a medical complex that would include radiation oncology, spinal and brain surgery, stroke care and rehabilitation, and treatment of patients with such neurological diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Samples anticipates the project could take up to two years once planning and design gets underway and permits are issues.

Indian River announced its expanded stroke center capabilities in July with the addition of three interventional neurologists from Lawnwood who specialize in performing surgery within arteries in the brain. The doctors, part of the Arubah Neuroscience Institute, include Ayman Gheith, MD, Vikas Gupta, MD, and Akram Shhadeh, MD. With their ability to treat ischemic strokes using mechanical thrombectomy, Indian River no longer needs to transport patients to other hospitals for the potentially life-saving procedure.

Martin Health, which like Indian River Medical Center is negotiating a merger with Cleveland Clinic, estimates its neuroscience center will generate about 150 new jobs.

Samples said the center will begin to take shape even as negotiations with Cleveland Clinic move forward.

“Should we eventually finalize what a deeper relationship between Martin Health System and Cleveland Clinic would look like, we anticipate moving forward with this project,” he said.

Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Weston hospital ranks third in the state in adult neurology and neurosurgery after UF Shands in Gainesville and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, according to U.S. News and World Report’s rankings.

The proposed neuroscience center at Tradition, should the hospital become part of the Cleveland Clinic system, would heighten focus on the specialty in the Cleveland Clinic’s Florida division, particularly if combined with Indian River’s potential certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.

Indian River is set to review its definitive agreement with Cleveland Clinic on Sept. 25 in a public meeting. Separate votes by the hospital’s board of directors and the Hospital District trustees on the Cleveland partnership are scheduled for Oct. 3.

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