HAINES CITY – On Sept. 1, at midnight, 1,567 Polk County area residents became AdventHealth employees.

That is when AdventHealth administrators officially purchased what was formerly known as Heart of Florida Hospital, in Davenport, Lake Wales Medical Center and more than a dozen other county medical facilities.

Several AdventHealth staff introduced themselves to members of the Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon Dec. 12 at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City.

“We want to take care of every single person in Polk County,” AdventHealth Polk Market Chief Financial Officer Bill Heinrich said. “We are really glad to be here, we're glad to be a partner, glad to have great leadership at both facilities, really great staff here and we are looking forward to getting to know each one of you better, serving you better and being a great partner in the community for years to come.”

AdventHealth owns 198 hospitals nationwide, with 50 of those in Florida — and now 15 hospitals in Central Florida.

In addition to owning two hospitals in Polk County; the Four Corners Emergency Room; medical offices in Davenport, ChampionsGate, Poinciana, Winter Haven, Lake Wales and Haines City; urgent care centers in Winter Haven and Poinciana and wound care centers in Haines City and Lake Wales, AdventHealth administrators also recently invested millions of dollars by sponsoring the newly renamed AdventHealth Fieldhouse in Winter Haven, where the Lakeland Magic basketball team will practice starting in 2020.

Former Heart of Florida Hospital CEO and current AdventHealth Polk County Market Chief Business Development Officer Ann Barnhart said that, between now and the end of 2020, AdventHealth will be investing $24.5 million at Polk County medical facilities — primarily at AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital.

Over the next year, the hospital will get a new pediatric emergency room and something called a 7D Spine Navigation Surgical System — a machine that does radiation-free spine procedures and. once installed, will be the only such machine in Polk County.

AdventHealth staff will also be investing around $14 million updating information technology systems so patient information can be shared among the various AdventHealth facilities across the area. New beds and other infrastructure will also be purchased and installed over the next year, Barnhart said.

Barnhart has been involved with health of Polk County residents for almost 30 years, starting out when the former Heart of Florida Hospital only had 51 beds. AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital now has 200 beds.

“The journey continues and it is my absolute pleasure and excitement to have us continue as a member of the family of AdventHealth,” Barnhart said. “Things are only going to get better.”

AdventHealth is part of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a church that focuses much of its attention on health and education, with around 88,000 churches worldwide and around 5 million medical patients served per year.

The healthcare provider’s motto is “A Promise of Wholeness To Our Community” and a commitment to the mind, body and spirit, Heinrich said.

“We believe in holistic care,” Heinrich said. “To do that requires excellent care, proper use of technology, connecting patients with local providers for follow up appointments and affordability.”

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.