Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Turns 45

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Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) officially opened its doors to receive patients on July 22, 1974, as a 237-bed hospital providing emergency services, labor and delivery, behavioral health and general medical/surgical care. FWBMC stood alone in its current location as a healthcare beacon providing much needed, advanced medical services.

Over the last 45 years, FWBMC has seen a great deal of change, not only in its physical structure, but in the quality of care it provides the community and the accomplishments it have achieved.

With each passing decade FWB Medical Center continues to grow and achieve monumental milestones:
• In the early 1990’s HCA Healthcare purchased the hospital and its official name became Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Rehabilitation Services opened on the 4th floor, helping stroke and joint replacement patients return to daily living activities.
• In the early 2000’s, the first open-heart surgery was performed at FWB Medical Center. Today, FWBMC still remains the only hospital in the tri-county area qualified to perform open-heart surgery.
• In the mid 2000’s, FWB Medical Center opened the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the tri-county area. The NICU provides care for premature and critically ill babies without having to leave the area.
• In the early 2010’s, FWB Medical Center started down the path of becoming a tertiary medical center for the region, where people from all around the southeast would come for the quality care and specialized services being added.
• Opened the tri-county area’s only 24/7 pediatric ER o Opened Rehabilitation Institute of NWF in Destin
• Opened a 30-bed Surgical Care Unit o FWBMC Cancer Care Center becomes associated with UAB Cancer Community Network
• FWBMC purchases the first robotic surgical system in the area for minimally invasive surgery procedures o Became the only Accredited Chest Pain Center and Advanced Primary Stroke Center in the tri-county area – In the mid to late 2010’s FWB Medical Center was well on their way to becoming the highest level, comprehensive healthcare facility in the tri-county area.
• 2014 – 2018: Rated “A” for patient safety
• 2015: Ranked 4th Highest in the Nation for Infection Prevention
• 2016: Named one of the Top 100 General Hospitals in the nation, High Performing Hospital for heart failure, and among the Best Stroke Program
• 2016 – 2018: Rated Highest Quality 3-Star rating for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
• 2017: Expanded Emergency Services to Destin by opening Destin ER
• 2017: Designated as the tri-county area’s only Level II Trauma Center
• 2018: Expanded the main ER to 40 exam rooms, roof-top helipad and a new 64-slice CT

Today, FWB Medical Center is a tertiary center seeing patients all across the southeast, as well as in the local community. “We recognize this as an anniversary but also as a celebration and testimony to the many contributions made by our physicians, staff, volunteers and community and look forward to continuing to provide the most advanced, up-to-date quality health care,” stated Mitch Mongell. “We embody our mission each and every day – above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.”

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a 267-bed full-service hospital and is the only Level II Trauma Center in the Tri-County Area, with over 300 highly respected and qualified physicians. For women and children services, we have 24/7 neonatologists available and the area’s only Level II NICU. Its expanded emergency services include a dedicated Pediatric ER, 24/7 Destin ER, an Express tract for minor injuries, and a full-service 24/7 Fort Walton Beach ER. It is the only acute care hospital in the Tri-County area that offers open heart surgery, an Accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center, an Accredited Chest Pain Center, and a Cancer Care Center that is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and an Associate of the UAB Birmingham Health System Cancer Community Network. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center also has the only inpatient acute care rehab facility in the tri-county are – The Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida in Destin.