World-Class Healthcare at Baptist Health International
By Stephen J. Keeler
Sir Isaac Newton is known to have said, “If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” His implication was that by continuing the good work of our predecessors, we become giants for our children’s generations.
According to Mario A. Mendez, MD, the Corporate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Baptist Health International, it is in this spirit that Baptist Health South Florida continues the legacy of a world-class, leading, nonprofit health system dedicated to the communities it serves, for more than 60 years.
Baptist Health South Florida includes almost 16,000 employees, with over 2,300 physicians serving in seven hospitals and nearly 30 urgent care and medical plazas throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties for non-emergent and emergent care. Given Miami’s position as a gateway between North America and the Caribbean and Central and South America, Baptist Health’s mission now encompasses serving patients from around the world, with a particular focus on the extended community of the eastern Americas.
Care with a Global Appeal
“Miami, being situated where it is, has enjoyed continuous patient traffic for services that are unavailable or unreliable in the Caribbean, Central and South America,” Dr. Mendez explained. “To serve these patients, we developed over 20 years ago an infrastructure that is now the largest hospital-based international program in the United States. We have a multilingual staff that operates 24/7 every day of the year, managing more than 5,000 calls monthly from the international market, and treat over 10,000 patients every year from some 90 different countries.”
The quality of care is identical to that provided to U.S. citizens, he noted. “All of our Centers of Excellence are included in the program, including cardiovascular, neurology, oncology, and orthopedics – the same level of service and care we provide through sports partnerships with teams like the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat, for example.
“Across the system, the amount of robotic surgery is considerable in gynecology, oncology, gastrointestinal and urologic surgery,” according to Dr. Mendez. “In many places, a robotic prostatectomy is unavailable; we perform them regularly, so that procedure is available to everyone who needs it.”
The types of patients who most take advantage of Baptist Health International are those of singular high acuity, according to Dr. Mendez. “We perform sophisticated types of procedures that aren’t offered in our patients’ home countries. We don’t want to cannibalize business that can be handled safely and appropriately in-country; rather, Baptist Health is here to be an extension of their local facilities if treatments or procedures are not available.”
To serve as that extension, Baptist International has endeavored to create strategic partnerships with hospitals and health systems throughout the Americas. Everything has an academic platform, such as monthly video conferences with Baptist Health’s luminary physicians, which are transmitted to various medical schools. The programs are in English with simultaneous translations and interactive capacity to interact with the speakers. Up-and-coming lecture series of the Miami Cancer Institute will discuss the most cutting-edge modalities of treating cancer, including proton therapy, all of which enhance the brand presence and value of the partnerships Baptist Health has across the Americas.
Blazing the Trail in Cutting-Edge Healthcare
Year in and year out, Baptist Health ranks among the highest-rated clinically integrated delivery networks in the country and the world. And the domestic market is not ignored. Baptist Health offers a robust second-opinion service for any U.S. resident considering going to another country for any type of treatment, promising a 72-hour turnaround from leading physicians (96-hour for oncology). “Our biggest differentiator for U.S. patients is the same for our overseas patients,” Dr. Mendez told South Florida Opulence. “It’s our renowned high-touch service. We hold the patient’s hand from beginning to end; our concierge-level service is world-renowned as we hold the hands of family and friends, and provide regular communications with the patients’ physicians.”
And all this in your own backyard of South Florida.