Thursday, January 27, 2022

30 Years Young



Straight Talk
Allen S Weiss, M.D.
President & CEO NCH Healthcare System

I’m proud to say our track record for quality healthcare has been growing for quite some time, even as we continue to improve and break new ground. I was reminded of this recently as we celebrated the “old” and rang in the “new.”

I speak of two celebratory occasions—first, Marco Island’s Urgent Care Clinic’s 30th anniversary; and second, the groundbreaking for NCH Northeast, a 40,000 sq. ft. freestanding emergency room.

Marco Island’s Urgent Care Center may be 30-years-young, but its staff is as energetic and vibrant as any in our system. It is our most extensive facility outside our two major hospital campuses and is staffed with Board Certified Emergency Room physicians and physician assistants, capable of caring for patients with minor illnesses and injuries. Radiology services, including CT scans, ultrasounds, and regular X-rays, complement the diagnostic capability and are all Joint Commission certified for quality and safety.

On the same campus is our always-busy, full-service Rehabilitation Center and physicians’ offices, ranging from NCH Physician Group’s Dr. Robert Folsom, who started practice 37 years ago, to Dr. David Linz, who started practice last year. Director of Emergency Services RN Betsy Novakovich, who is also a Marco Island resident, leads approximately 50 colleagues who cared for 7,689 patients last year. This magnificent staff is responsible for the center’s 26% growth year to date. Happy anniversary, one and all!

By contrast to this 30th anniversary, last Friday over 100 of us attended a groundbreaking ceremony for NCH Northeast at the corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard. NCH Northeast will include a 24/7/365 emergency room on the first floor, accompanied by radiology with a CT scanner and MRI. Also in place will be our teleneurology robot system, blood bank, and laboratory, making this location as fully capable as our two hospital building-based ERs. Additionally on the first floor will be a small rehabilitation facility, making this our eighth southwest Florida location.

The second floor will have well-designed physician offices for twelve new NCH Physician Group doctors starting with Drs. Monica Menichello, Brian Menichello, Bruce Gelinas and Richard Prewitt. An additional eight physicians will be joining once the building is completed.

Both of these facilities are part of a busy and growing NCH. Last month was among the busiest ever in our history in terms of number of patients admitted, seen in our ERs, and surgeries performed. We also are hiring, having added over 160 new employees to the team over the past two months. I’m reminded of when I was in private practice with two colleagues when phoning in for everything from scheduling a new appointment to obtaining lab results was the norm; there were days when the phone never stopped ringing. In the midst of “phone fatigue,” we all agreed the only thing worse than the phone ringing too much was it ringing not at all.

And the same is true at NCH today. As southwest Florida continues to grow with year-round residents and simultaneously swells with seasonal visitors, we will continue to be called on, constantly, to help everyone live longer, happier, healthier lives. That’s why we continue to add new facilities, freestanding ERs, electronic communication, and more dedicated colleagues. At NCH, as someone once said, “busy hands are happy hands.” And for all we have and can provide to others, we are profoundly grateful.


In September 2006, Dr. Allen Weiss was appointed president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, a 715-bed, two-hospital integrated health care system. NCH is one of only twenty hospitals in the country affiliated with Mayo Clinic, and has been named three times by “U. S. News and World Report” as best in the region and among the 50 best cardiovascular programs according to Truven. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his training at both the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University. He also had a solo practice in Rheumatology, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics for 23 years, and is board certified in all three specialties. He is recognized both as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. His wife, Dr. Marla Weiss, is a writer and educator, and they have two daughters who are physicians.

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