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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

Wolfson Children's Specialty Center: Up and running in Lake City


The Ford-Marsh family with four of their five children and a family friend. Their daughter, the little girl in the middle, had a serious heart condition before being treated at Wolfson's.        (Click here to enlarge photo)

Late yesterday afternoon, everyone was all smiles at the Wolfson Children's Specialty Center grand opening. The Lake City facility is Wolfson's outreach specialty clinic. Wolfson Children's Hospital is recognized as a world class provider of pediatric care and the Lake City facility is centrally located in the north central Florida region, saving the wear and tear on children and families, who no longer have to make the trip to Jacksonville to receive Wolfson's services.

Cathi Allison, Wolfson's system clinical manager, was all smiles as she showed the Observer the new facility.

The first stop was the new conference room. Wolfson plans to use the latest technology to incorporate telemedicine at the new outreach center. She explained that the TV monitors were on the way.

Ms. Allison said, "We want the physicians to have a place for education events because they said that is one of the things that it is very difficult for them to tie into. Here is the space where all the pediatricians can come together."

She explained that the events will not be limited to just Wolfson affiliated physicians.


The physical therapy room could be right out of Sesame Street.

Next stop, children's therapy services. Ms. Allison pointed out the speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy rooms. As expected all were bright and airy. They looked like a scene from Sesame Street.

All the art in the center is original art. The enthusiasm bubbled over to the architect/general contractor Brad Hollette, who pointed out that his girlfriend, Jen Jones, "cut out the little animals that decorate some of the rooms herself on a band saw."

There are no permanent doctors on staff at the clinic. At the present time cardiology comes out once a week and Ms. Allison explained there will be neurology, urology and other specialties rotating through.


Much personal energy was invested in making the clinic a place of positive energy. These animals were cut out by the interior designer.

Ms. Allison said, "In the beginning the doctors will be out once a month, however as the system grows the visits will increase. Once families know that the doctors are out here and that they don't have to travel to Jacksonville any more, it is expected that the frequency of specialists in Lake City will increase."

She added, "For some of these kids, the wear and tear and travel time traveling back and forth to Jacksonville was just too difficult. They won't have to do that anymore."

The normal staff at the Lake City outreach clinic includes an office coordinator, three therapists -- physical, occupational, and speech. When the physicians rotate through they will bring their nurse or their assistant.

City Manager Wendell Johnson:
"This is one of the best thing to happen in Lake City in recent times. It is going to be a tremendous asset to the City. I know they will grow even bigger and be successful.

What about the fees?

The Observer asked, "Do you take all kinds of payment here?"

Ms. Allison answered, "We do. Nobody is rejected because they cannot pay.  We accept all kinds of insurance and all kinds of patients, just like the Children's Hospital."

All the physicians are associated with UF or Nemours Children's Clinic.

The Observer:  "Ms. Allison, thanks for the tour."

Ms. Allison:  "It's about the kids. That's why we are here."

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