Most of the Baptist Health hospitals are right in the middle of neighborhoods. In some cases, the neighbors were not there when the hospital was built. But over the years, houses were built and people moved in as close as across the street.
South Miami Hospital is bordered on one side by the Manor Lane neighborhood. Doctors Hospital is in the heart of Coral Gables with three sides bordered by residences and one side bordered by the University of Miami.
In the case of Homestead Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital, both were brand new and built on green fields with very few or no adjacent neighbors. Very quickly, though, we have seen that these local hospitals have served – beyond the primary mission of care – as economic engines of growth and opportunity for these communities.
In the Homestead community, Homestead Hospital triggered a transformative boom in East Homestead that is still underway five years later. Aerial photos show housing, shopping and major infrastructure improvements for miles around the hospital site.
The same thing is happening at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, at an even more accelerated pace. As West Kendall establishes it own identity as part of greater Miami, the hospital truly contributes to the sense of place.
In the older and more established communities around Baptist, South Miami and Doctors Hospitals, the hospitals are fully part of the fabric of day-to-day life. There are also some interesting benefits to being close by. Of course, instant access in an emergency is a comforting thought for many in surrounding neighborhoods. But an added benefit for these residents is following the hospitals’ lead in storm preparations.
I have been told by neighbors many, many times over the years that they don’t pay much attention to the news stations when a storm is approaching, as they find it stressful. What they do pay attention to are the activities of the hospital, most particularly something as commonplace as the shutters on the buildings. For many people, that is when they know it is time to get ready for a storm.
An older patient, who happened to live a few blocks away from one of our hospitals told me that we had saved him thousands of dollars over the last 20 years. This was an interesting comment that you don’t often hear in my job! When I asked him how so, he said that he had to hire someone to put up his aluminum shutters once he got past a certain age. By waiting until the hospital starting closing its shutters (which we have done judiciously over the years), he had avoided many, many unnecessary costs. Unlike some folks, he could not stand to put up the shutters and leave them up, too depressing. But taking them up and down was too expensive, so we became his trigger.
Now that there are fewer shutters, as more and more of the glass is hurricane hardened, you have to look a little closer to see us getting ready, but you can still see it happening.
Another hidden benefit: As a vital community service, the hospital and the adjacent community, are first to get back on the power grid after a storm. If you have lived through days and weeks of no power, as many of us long time residents have, this benefit is, as they say, priceless.
Keep an eye out as a storm threatens and remember to turn to Weathering the Storms, as well, for clues to when you should get your house and family ready to weather the storm.
“Neighbor you are so good, I love the way you walk.
Neighbor you are so cool, I love the way you talk.
Sing you a song from morning to night
Waiting for the summer sun”
Highlife – Sonny Okusson