Lee Health

Lee Memorial Hospital

Many retirees put a lot of thought into choosing where to spend their golden years. Many questions are asked and answered. Warm, sunny days or cool mountain air? Easy access to sandy beaches or foot trails through rolling hills? Short drive to family and friends or convenient flights from accessible airports? While all this things need to be considered, many forget to ask a very important, potentially life altering question – fast, quality health care, or long, stressful treks to far away facilities?

What is Lee Health

Luckily, if you are considering a move to Southwest Florida, specifically to the Fort Myers area, you won’t have to worry about if you will be able to find a doctor or what will happen if you need more than just a yearly physical. Lee Health is what its name implies – a large and growing network of doctors, clinics and hospitals coordinated under one umbrella whose mission is to “meet the health care needs and improve the health status of the people of Southwest Florida”


The origins of this nationally recognized health provider can be traced back to 1916. Donated lumber salvaged from the dismantled Court House combined the 300 dollars from community leaders were used to build a two story, 10 bed building which became known as Lee County Hospital, the first in Fort Myers.

Lee Health today

Today, four acute care hospitals: Lee Memorial Hospital, HealthPark Medical Center,
Gulf Coast Medical Center and Cape Coral Hospital, and two specialty hospitals:
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and The Rehabilitation Hospital are the back bone of a vast system commonly referred to as Lee Health. A combined total of 1423 beds makes Lee Health the largest public health care system in the state of Florida. This enterprise reports over 1 million patient contacts each year and does it all without receiving direct public tax support. This impressive system is governed by a publicly elected, 10 member Board of Directors and is reported to have provided $256 million in charity care during 2013 – that amounts to more than $700,000 every day.

Boosting more than 10,500 dedicated employees and 4,500 volunteers and auxiliary staff, Lee Health is the top employer in Lee County. It has over 1000 doctors on staff with more than another 225 primary care physicians and specialists providing care from over 25 outpatient offices located throughout the community. Lee Health offers the full range of services, which includes acute care, emergency care, rehabilitative and diagnostic services, health and wellness education, community outreach and advocacy programs for people living throughout Lee County as well as the four neighboring counties of Collier, Charlotte, Henry and Glades.

While the size of the this massive system provides medical care to a staggering number of people, the quality of that care is paramount and Lee Health strives to continually improve in the five components its has identified as critical for providing medical care: Safety, Quality, Service, Compassion and Teamwork. Electronic health records (EHRs) are now used throughout Lee Physician Group offices and Lee Health to provide up to date information to all health care providers in the system in order to insure safe, quality care. Patients also have access to their medical record through MyChart, which provides secure and direct online access to portions of the EHR, including lab results, appointment information, medications, immunizations and much more.

Facts/Special Recognition

Lee Health ranks nationally, in-state, and regionally, in nearly every service line. According to their website,Lee Health hospitals are recognized by Healthgrades, a leading provider of health care ratings and information. Highlights include:

  • Lee Memorial Hospital and HealthPark Medical Center are ranked in the top 1% of the nation — meaning they are included in America’s 50 Best Hospitals.
  • HealthPark Medical Center is ranked in the top 5% in the nation for cardiac care
  • Gulf Coast Medical Center is ranked in the top 5% in the nation for stroke care
  • Lee Memorial Hospital is ranked in the top 5% in the nation for joint replacement
  • Cape Coral Hospital is ranked in the top 10% in the nation for overall pulmonary services

(For a full list of Lee Health’s Healthgrades awards, Click here.)

  • Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center of its kind in Southwest Florida. A partnership between Lee Health, 21st Century Oncology and Florida Cancer Specialists, Regional Cancer Center offers the latest treatments and technologies. Regional Cancer Center also has a unique partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, which allows improved care for patients by providing access to advanced academic programs, clinical protocols and the expertise of renowned cancer researchers.
  • The Transplant Center at Gulf Coast Medical Center is the only renal transplant center between Tampa and Miami.
  • The waiting time for transplantation at Gulf Coast Medical Center is among the shortest in the nation.
  • Lee Health is one of the top 10 most active joint replacement centers in the United States.
  • The Rehabilitation Hospital is the only licensed comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facility in Lee County.
  • The Rehabilitation Hospital has been designated as a state of Florida Brain and Spinal Cord Injury program.
  • Lee Memorial Hospital has the only state approved Level II Trauma Center between Tampa and Miami.
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the only comprehensive children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami.
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital has the only Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center in the area, and it has the best survival rates in the state. There are only 11 such sites certified in the entire state.
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital has the only Level III neonatal intensive care unit between Tampa and Miami.

Full Disclosure: The author works part time for Lee Memorial Health System.