PruittHealth-Fleming Island ready to open its doors

By Don Coble Managing Editor
Posted 3/26/19

FLEMING ISLAND – It took 11 months to build PruittHealth-Fleming Island. Now comes the difficult part – patiently waiting on paperwork.

The last nail has been driven, the last coat of paint …

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PruittHealth-Fleming Island ready to open its doors


FLEMING ISLAND – It took 11 months to build PruittHealth-Fleming Island. Now comes the difficult part – patiently waiting on paperwork.

The last nail has been driven, the last coat of paint has dried. The 97-bed, skilled nursing and rehabilitation center is ready to start receiving patients – just as soon as the state issues the license. And can’t come quick enough for the more than 150 new employees.

Once opened, the complex is far more than a nursing home or place to recover from an illness. It’s a place where recovery is blended with social interaction.

“One of the things about our facility that we take pride in is we have areas for people to gather, to visit and socialize,” Matt Tolbert, PruittHealth’s area vice president, said. “We encourage people to be out, meeting with other people. A traditional nursing home setting, most people will stay in their beds or sit in the hall with their wheelchair. We take great pride in having lots of activities. There are lots of areas that are very inviting to get out and get people engaged.”

And feel better.

Some of the services include: post-operative recovery, physical, speech and occupational therapy, pain management, 24-hour skilled nursing and wellness services, hydrotherapy, diabetic programing and nourishment care, hospice and wound care.

The average length of stay of about 60 percent of the patients is 23 days. Most of those patients generally are recovering from surgery, especially hip and knee replacements.

Others will be long term residents, Tolbert said.

There are several group areas and two dining areas. There is a playground and putting green in the courtyard for children and grandchildren while they visit a loved one. And there’s a way to stay connected from the comfort of every bed.

“A lot of these are the Baby Boomers,” Tolbert said. “They use social media. We have the ability, right from their bed, they can watch television, they can use the internet, they can look at social media – Facebook, Instagram, you can keep up with the grandkids, all that good stuff.”

There also is a spa, complete with massage and beauty parlor, cafes and fine dining.

PruittHealth, a privately-owned healthcare company that serves Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company recently opened a facility in Panama City. Instead of a posh grand opening, PruittHealth decided to make four $10,000 donations to local charities in the walk of Hurricane Michael.

Three local charities – the Navy-Marine Corps. Relief Society at Naval Air Station Jacksonville that offers interest-free loans to soldiers, Orange Park’s Waste Not Want Not that rescues food for those in need and Giles Presbyterian Church in Orange Park – all will get “sizable” donations as part of Fleming Island’s grand opening, Tolbert said.

“Our motto here is: “Our family, your family, one family: committed to loving, given and caring, united in making a difference,” Tolbert said. “We want to be a big part of this community.”

Eric Weisz is the administrator at Fleming Island. He’s watched it grow from its first scoop of dirt to an elite facility of modern health care.

“Usually, when you look forward to the end of the week,” Weisz said. “Not here. We love what we do here. We look more forward to getting back to work on Monday than going home on Friday.”

Which makes the bureaucratic delays even more frustrating.

“It should happen any day now,” Weisz said.

PruittHealth-Fleming Island already has passed its county and state inspections. Once the state’s license is delivered, the doors will open to private-pay patients, Tolbert said, while the facility goes through the certification process for Medicare and Medicaid.


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