Lee Health Coconut Point 5 Year Anniversary

Written by Allan Bowditch, Engage Estero’s Chief Communications Officer;
Photos by Ed Weil, Engage Estero Committee Member

Lee Health Coconut Point celebrated five years of outstanding patient care and growth in the Estero and Bonita Springs communities. The event took place on Thursday evening, November 30, at the Medical Center.

Many of Estero’s dignitaries and guests were present, together with Lee Health’s senior management, which included president and chief executive officer Dr. Larry Antonucci, Joe Ryan, System Director Lee Health Coconut Point, Chris Simoneau, Chief Development, Marketing and Communications Officer and Carrie Bloemers, Director Healthy Life Center – Education & Navigation at Lee Health.

The 163,500-square-foot facility near Coconut Road and U.S. 41 in Estero opened its doors to patients on December 3, 2018. It represented a new model of healthcare. Lee Health Coconut Point offers convenient access to care with numerous essential quality services under one roof.

The first floor of Lee Health Coconut Point features a 24-hour emergency room, pharmacy, imaging services, laboratory for bloodwork, a breast health center with 2D and 3D mammography, cardiac testing, rehabilitation services, and the Healthy Life Center, which features education and multipurpose rooms along with a kitchen where community cooking classes are offered. The second floor consists of Lee Physician Group clinics and exam rooms, four operating rooms, and two procedure rooms.

Joe Ryan listed many impressive accomplishments since it opened in 2018, not the least being an extremely impressive 98.5% patient satisfaction rating!

  • More than 230,000 Lee Physician Group office appointments
  • 806,486 lab tests
  • 183,057 retail pharmacy prescriptions filled
  • 90,884 emergency department visits
  • 76,301 radiology diagnostic procedures
  • 16,590 cases at the surgery center
  • 1,689 classes at our Healthy Life Center with 16,106 participants served

During the evening, reference was made to the considerable amount of market research undertaken before the development of the Medical Center. Many focus groups were conducted with the public and the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), now Engage Estero’s Health Council. The ECCL team of volunteers collaborated with clinicians, nurses, doctors, and other hospital personnel in the design and helped develop the smooth functioning of the Coconut Point facility. Mock-ups of the layout eventually led to the incredibly well-planned design.

However, the thoughts and plans for Lee Health Coconut Point were a long time in the making! As far back as 2000, Jim Nathan, former CEO of Lee Memorial, met with Don Eslick, Chairperson of the then ECCO organization – before it became the ECCL. They met to discuss the need for improved healthcare services in the fast-growing community of Estero. Don Eslick formed the South Lee Hospital Committee. The committee included Ben Nelson, the Mayor of Bonita Springs, Dave Shellenbarger, and Jim Nathan.

Headed by Dave Shellenbarger, a needs assessment was conducted. The idea was to build support because healthcare in South Lee County and Estero was sadly lacking. The eventual outcome is the beautiful facility we see today.

Given the drive and persistence of Don Eslick (who sadly passed away earlier this year), it was very fitting that Lee Health’s leadership recognized him at the 5th anniversary of Lee Health at Coconut Point. A plaque was revealed in his honor, acknowledging his dedicated support and commitment to healthcare and his crucial role in the health center’s development.

Don’s wife, Susie, was immensely proud and appreciative of Lee Health for the award for her husband. She often said he had the gift of persuasion and making things happen. “He put in so many hours serving the people of Estero and touched many people’s lives just by being so generous.”       Susie Eslick

Engage Estero is an all-volunteer, nonpolitical, nonprofit Community Engagement Association. We exist to inform citizens of significant community issues and encourage citizen engagement to impact the quality of life in greater Estero favorably.

  Be Informed,
Get Engaged,
and Make an Impact!