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Take A Walk Through Florida Hospital For Women

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Kari Vargas led the tour of the $180 million hospital that will focus on mothers and babies.

Before the babies arrive, Florida Hospital for Women opened its doors for an early peek inside.

Vice President of Women’s Services Kari Vargas led the tour, complete with pink hard hats and pink construction vests.

“So 400,000 square, 332 beds, we are going to have a phased approach,” Vargas says, walking through the lobby. “We’ll start seeing patients here at the end of January. Our second phase opens about a year from now. So our oncology, neonatal intensive care will physically move into the building. We’ll have 10 additional operating rooms, both robotic and minimally invasive enabled.”

The hospital is an active construction site, but the building looks fully formed. This hospital is designed for mothers and babies.

“Two full-time birth coordinators will be on-staff to help design personalized birth experiences for women delivering here,” said Heather Fox, director of women’s health and oncology. “It’s not a VIP thing. It’s an experience for everyone who comes into the facility.”

Now if you’re wondering what about childbirth you can actually control, you can design the music, photos on the TV and how many family members are in the room. And there is, of course, a concierge service for gifts and goodies.

But one big thing women can choose is the kind of birth they’ll have. The hospital will have midwives on staff for women who want a more natural birth.

Florida Hospital for Women has four rooms with large bathtubs. Vargas draws back a shower curtain in one of the rooms.

“This shower actually has jets again that women can use to alleviate back pain as they’re going through the labor process,” Vargas said. “So that’s just one activity we heard from women who maybe want a more natural birth.”

This is Florida’s Hospital’s biggest investment ever in women’s service. The price tag comes in at $180 million dollars, and it’s right in the center of Health Village. That’s a large-scale, health-centered development Florida Hospital is putting together.

The kinds of amenities being shown off on this tour mean more space and more money. Owner Adventist Health System’s has done well financially, which allows them to splurge a little on the new tower.

And there’s a reason they’re looking at women.

“I’m finding among young mothers in many respects the amenities are a great, attractive factor,” said hospital analyst Michael Carroll.

Newborns is the one area where Florida Hospital doesn’t dominate the Central Florida market. But just as important, for many families, mom is the key health care decision maker. If you can get mom to love Florida Hospital, she’ll come back – and she’ll bring the family.

“If mama’s happy, the family’s happy,” Carroll said. “And if you can get mom to start coming to a facility and be supportive, the family follows.”

The last stop on the tour is a operating room. Even that has some upgrades: Bright lighting, video monitors – and, of course, the ability to pick the soundtrack for your C-section.

“Mom’s awake,” Vargas said. “So we wanted to make sure we had some focal points.”

-- Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.