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Health Care District 35 years logo

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County has a rich history of expanding access to care in our community. Step back in time with us as we trace our origins, growth and the milestones that have shaped our journey.

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Five team members posing in front of an ambulance


Health Care District launched its new interfacility ambulance transportation program, LifeTrans, dedicated to reducing wait times and expanding access to care in Palm Beach County. The program is limited to Health Care District patients needing transport within our medical centers’ network or to facilities within Palm Beach County that provide a higher level of care.

This includes the transfer of patients from Palm Beach County hospitals to specialized treatment centers like the Addiction Stabilization Unit (ASU) at HCA Florida JFK North Hospital in West Palm Beach.


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LMC 10th Anniversary
4 women on the tour of the new Belle Glade clinic

In November,Lakeside Medical Center marked it's 10th Anniversary and the C. L. Brumback Clinics held the grand opening of their new Belle Glade Clinic with a big community celebration.


Healey Center Staff on the 100th Anniversary
The ribbon cutting on the new mobile health clinic

In April, the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center celebrates it's 100th Anniversary. In August, the C. L. Brumback Clinics hold a ribbon cutting for their new mobile health clinic dedicated to providing healthcare for the county's homeless population.


C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics launch a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program to help in the fight against opioid addiction.

A doctor consulting patient on medication


Trauma Hawk helicopter

In May, the Health Care District's Trauma System  marked 25 years of saving lives in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County’s Trauma System, which is funded and overseen by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, has treated more than 64,000 traumatically-injured patients. Since the Trauma System took flight in May of 1991, more than 14,500 patients have received safe, efficient air transport services and care through the District’s Aeromedical Program.


In November, the Health Care District marked a major milestone - 25 years of providing health care services to the residents of Palm Beach County. On November 8, 1988, voters approved a referendum to establish a Palm Beach County Health Care District. Since then, the Health Care District, working in partnership with public and private providers, has woven a strong health care safety net that benefits residents of all ages and from all walks of life.

In June, the Health Care District began providing primary care services to adults and children at the C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics. Through a grant awarded to the Health Care District in December 2012 by the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the District is managing and operating the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics as Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The four clinics are named in honor of the late Dr. Clarence L. “Carl” Brumback, Palm Beach County’s first public health doctor and are located at current Florida Health Palm Beach County (formerly Palm Beach County Health Department) health centers in Lantana, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach and Belle Glade.

A doctor listens to the heart beat of a small girl with the mother sitting next to her

On March 13th, the Health Care District dedicated the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center replacement facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site of the new building in Riviera Beach. The new 120-bed Healey Center replaced the previous facility in West Palm Beach, which had served the needs of the community since 1917. Construction of the new facility began in February 2012 and the project was completed on time and under budget.

At a public meeting on February 5th, the Health Care District's Board of Commissioners voted unanimously that it is in the best interest of the Glades community to continue ownership and operation of Lakeside Medical Center, Palm Beach County's only public hospital. The vote followed a presentation made by an independent, third-party evaluation firm, Health Management Associates, which found that the estimated fair market financial value of the hospital is zero without Health Care District support.

More than 40 people attended the public hearing at the hospital, many of them local public officials and key community leaders. Eleven attendees provided public comment and all spoke in favor of the hospital remaining a public entity under the Health Care District.

A projector displays a presentation on a pull down screen during a Lakeside Medical Center meeting


A group photo of over 200 School Health employees

The Health Care District's School Health Program marks a milestone of keeping students healthy and ready to learn for 15 years. More than 200 School Nurses care for over 174,000 students in 169 Palm Beach County public schools.

Since its inception in 1997, the program has evolved into one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country and is recognized as a national model.

On January 31st, the Health Care District marked the commencement of construction of the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center replacement facility with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site located at 5101 West Blue Heron Blvd. in Riviera Beach.

Healey Center groundbreaking group wearing hard hats and holding shovels with dirt

The new 120-bed Healey Center, scheduled to open in 2013, will replace the existing facility at 1200 45th Street in West Palm Beach, which has served the needs of the community since 1917.

For more information and project updates, visit

Photo from left: Peggy Mallon, NHA, MBA, Healey Center Administrator; Thomas A. Masters, Mayor, City of Riviera Beach; Judy L. Davis, Council Chairwoman, City of Riviera Beach; Billie E. Brooks, Council Chair Pro-Tem, City of Riviera Beach; Nancy C. Banner, Esq., Commissioner, Health Care District Board of Commissioners; Ronald J. Wiewora, MD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer/Chief Medical Officer, Health Care District of Palm Beach County; Benjamin Frank, Esq., Chair, Health Care District Board of Commissioners.


Five LMC residents standing shoulder to shoulder

The Health Care District's Trauma System marks 20 years of service to Palm Beach County. Beginning with the first transports on May 1, 1991 to St. Mary's Medical Center and Delray Medical Center, the Trauma System has since then cared for 50,000 trauma victims through a planned, coordinated and integrated system.

The Health Care District oversees and funds the Trauma System, including operation of two Trauma Hawk  air ambulances.

Lakeside Medical Center becomes a teaching hospital, inaugurating a three-year Family Medicine Residency Program. 


Front view of the Lakeside Medical Center building

On October 15, Lakeside Medical Center opens to the public ahead of schedule and below budget. The 70-bed community hospital provides a regional health care delivery system for all Palm Beach County communities bordering Lake Okeechobee and surrounding towns, offering modern technology and all-private patient rooms in a central location.


In July, the District Board approves an eligibility change for Vita Health that makes the affordable health coverage plan available to many thousands more residents of Palm Beach County. Vita Health members now pay premiums as low as $30 a month for quality coverage. In August, Glades General Hospital becomes the first hospital in Palm Beach County to register births literally at bedside, thanks to its state-of-the-art Electronic Birth Registry system.

District Board approves a proclamation (PDF 69.3KB) commemorating the health care agency's 20th anniversary.

A doctor reviews two x rays on two computer monitors

In December, the District Board votes unanimously to name the new community hospital for rural western Palm Beach County "Lakeside Medical Center." The new 70-bed hospital is scheduled to be completed in late 2009. Lakeside Medical Center is situated on a 50-acre medical campus and will provide quality acute care services for all Palm Beach County communities bordering Lake Okeechobee.


The construction site of Lakeside Medical Center

Construction begins on the new regional hospital for the Glades. The hospital and medical campus is scheduled to be completed in early 2010.


In April, the District introduces Vita Health, a low-cost health coverage option designed for working individuals and families in Palm Beach County, including uninsured single parents, individuals whose employers do not offer health benefits for full and part-time employees, and residents who are self-employed. A shared-cost program, Vita Health offers health care benefits to members at affordable rates including hospitalization, emergency room services, outpatient surgery, diagnostic services, primary care services, and prescription drugs.

Health Care District employee explains the Vita Health program to an interested woman

The District Board votes to construct a new regional hospital to replace Glades General Hospital, which was built in the 1940s and damaged during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In June, Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet release 50-acres of state-owned land, centrally located between the three main towns in the Glades, for the proposed regional hospital. The District commits $50 million to the $67 million project, the largest capital investment in the District’s history. In October, the District takes the initiative to form the Glades Healthcare Foundation to raise additional funds for the hospital and other ongoing health care initiatives for the Palm Beach County communities bordering Lake Okeechobee.

In May, the District formally dedicates the new state-of-the-art Trauma Hawk  hangar, training and operations facility at Palm Beach International Airport.


The Edward J. Healey Center receives a three-year accreditation for its Inpatient Rehabilitation Program from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, an international not-for-profit accrediting commission. This accreditation, awarded through a rigorous peer process, commends the Healey Center for progress in its quest for quality programs and services. The Center has also maintained a “superior” rating – the highest – from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration since 1997.


In October, the District begins the Maternity Care Plan to provide prenatal and postnatal care for women who are not eligible for Medicaid services and meet certain income criteria. Since the program began, more than 10,000 mothers have received services, including doctor visits, sonograms, and prescription drugs.

In May, the District Board assumes ownership and operation of Glades General Hospital, a 73-bed acute-care hospital which served the health needs of residents and agricultural workers in rural western Palm Beach County for more than six decades, providing care for around 3,600 inpatients a year.

Glades General Hospital building


The number of residents who received health care services through the Coordinated Care program reaches 25,000. More than 3,600 students and school staff visit the School Health clinics every school day on average. The District’s Behavioral Health professionals provide services to 5,400 students.


Healey Center patient doing physical therapy

The District renames the County Home the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Representative Healey was co-sponsor of the Palm Beach County Health Care Act, which created the Health Care District in 1988. As a Health Care District Board Commissioner from 1992 until his death in 2000, Representative Healey advocated for the health and well-being of Palm Beach County residents.


The District’s Medicaid HMO, Healthy Palm Beaches, is awarded its second three-year accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.


The Behavioral Health Program is launched to provide help for elementary school students dealing with social, emotional, and behavioral issues, enabling early and effective intervention. In the pilot phase, Behavioral Health Professionals are assigned to 15 public schools. Also, for the sixth year in a row the District Board lowers its millage (tax) rate.


Healthy Palm Beaches, Inc. begins to administer the Florida Healthy Kids contract for Palm Beach County. The Florida Healthy Kids program, established in 1990, provides access to health insurance coverage for working families who can’t afford payment of full premium. The District also purchases two state-of-the-art Trauma Hawk air ambulances.

Two Trauma Hawk helicopters flying side by side over water.


In January, the Personal Health Plan of Healthy Palm Beaches. Inc. begins operations as a Medicaid HMO for eligible Palm Beach County residents. The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care awards the HMO a three-year accreditation, the highest award granted to a HMO.


A school nurse takes a students blood pressure

In June, the District begins to administer Palm Beach County’s School Health Program, which provides school nursing care in the public schools. Today District nurses staff clinics in nearly 170 public schools throughout Palm Beach County. In addition the District provides matching funds for the Florida Healthy Kids program in Palm Beach County, which enables thousands of families who are not eligible for Medicaid and other forms of health insurance to purchase health insurance for their children ages 3-19. The District also leads the way in improving the immunization level for children in Palm Beach County to more than 96%, the highest level ever achieved up to that point.


The Health Care District establishes a focus on a health care delivery system for residents in the Glades region.


The Palm Beach County Home and General Care Facility in West Palm Beach is transferred to the Health Care District under a 40-year interlocal agreement with the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners. The 198-bed rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility serves Palm Beach County residents over the age of 21 who require specialized skilled nursing care, sub-acute care, and occupational, physical, and speech therapy.

Signage for the Palm Beach County Home facility


The District incorporates Healthy Palm Beaches, Inc. for the purpose of establishing a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) for medically needy and financially disadvantaged residents of Palm Beach County.

In December, the District opens a Western Office in Belle Glade to provide residents with information and applications for health programs.


The District launches Coordinated Care, a managed care program designed to provide affordable and accessible quality health services to financially needy residents who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid and who lack private health insurance. Within two years more than 25,000 residents receive safety-net services including inpatient hospital care, outpatient surgery, prescription drugs, diagnostic services, and primary care and specialty physician services through a network of providers—all at no cost to members.

A hand grabs a Coordinated Care brochure from a display


The District Board implements measures to strengthen the financial foundation and management of the growing organization.


In May, the Trauma System begins to operate, transporting the traumatically injured to one of the two Level II Trauma Centers at St. Mary’s Hospital and Delray Medical Center. The Trauma System has reduced Palm Beach County’s preventable death rate from 35% to less than 1%.


The District Board purchases a Trauma Hawk helicopter for aeromedical transport to designated trauma centers. This is the beginning of what is today a nationally-acclaimed, integrated Trauma System providing rapid-response care for nearly 3,000 traumatically injured and critically ill patients a year.

Side view of the Trauma Hawk helicopter flying


The Health Care District Board is established in February and leases an office in West Palm Beach.


The voters of Palm Beach County approve a referendum on the November 8 ballot to establish a Palm Beach County Health Care District.


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