An Outpatient Surgery Center operated by The Villages Regional Hospital has at least temporarily shut its doors.
The facility, which was located across U.S. Hwy. 27/441 from the main hospital building in the East Campus, closed March 1 after being available to Villagers and area residents for just under four years.
That topic was among many that was discussed Tuesday night when Don Henderson, president and CEO of Central Florida Health, spoke at the packed-house Property Owners’ Association meeting at Laurel Manor Recreation Center. Central Florida Health is the parent company of The Villages Regional Hospital (TVRH) and Leesburg Regional Medical Center.
Henderson spent the majority of his time discussing the recent one-star rating TVRH received from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and issues that have created long wait times at the facility’s emergency department. But it was revealed that the outpatient surgery center had closed when Tracey Cerovac, a nurse who had worked there, asked about it.
Henderson said the hospital had to temporarily close the facility because there weren’t enough specialists performing enough procedures to justify keeping it open. He also said that administrators are going to re-evaluate the closure in the fall to see if reopening the center can be justified at that time, especially since a lot of new doctors are moving into the local area.
“It’s not shut down permanently,” he said. “It’s shut down temporarily.”
Cerovac, who hadn’t yet identified herself as a hospital employee, then asked what had happened to the nurses who worked there.
“Every single nurse was offered an alternative job,” Henderson said.
“No they were not,” she said. “I am one of the nurses.”
Henderson then asked Cerovac, whose Facebook page says she started working at the hospital this past November, to speak with him after the presentation.
After the meeting, Cerovac said she was upset about a letter she received from the hospital’s human resources department that said if she hadn’t secured a new position by March 31, Central Florida Health “will consider this your voluntary resignation.”
That letter, dated March 4, also said that Central Florida Health was giving Cerovac an opportunity to “secure another position within the organization” and encouraged her to “explore all open positions within your skill set.”
On Wednesday, a hospital official said that Cerovac already had been offered one job and was now going to be offered a second opportunity at the facility.
The Outpatient Surgery Center opened to a huge fanfare after holding an open house in May 2015. The facility had offered a variety of surgical options, including cataract, retina replacement, podiatry, dermatology, pain management and plastic surgery. And patients were discharged the same day and generally paid “an average of 30 to 40 percent less” than they would have for the having the same procedure performed in a hospital, according to TVRH’s website.