Baptist Beaches & Baptist Nassau County evacuate patients

Health facilities evacuated as Hurricane Dorian looms

Baptist Medical Center Beaches patients were transferred Monday to Baptist Medical Center South and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville in downtown ahead of Hurricane Dorian. 

The evacuation to the two other Baptist Health locations was expected to be done by 7 p.m. Monday.

At Baptist Beaches, 110 patients had to evacuate. Some were discharged. Others were transferred by ambulance.

"It’s not only making sure they are safe, but also making sure they are getting the best quality care and that continuity of care needs to be maintained through the process," said Baptist Medical Center Beaches Hospital President Joe Mitrick. 

Nassau County Baptist Medical Center informed Nassau County Emergency Management officials the hospital would close at 3 p.m. Monday. Patients were evacuated from the facility. 

Baptist Beaches emergency room closed at 7 p.m. Monday and will remain closed until the mandatory evacuation for zones A and B, which includes Duval County's beaches, is lifted. Baptist's emergency centers at Baptist Jacksonville, Baptist South, Wolfson Children's Hospital, Town Center, Baptist Clay and Baptist North remained open as of Monday. 

For the latest information, visit

If you have a family member who was hospitalized at Baptist Beaches and the hospital has not been able to contact you, call 904-202-2000.

Other Jacksonville-area hospitals monitoring Dorian

As Hurricane Dorian begins to affect the area, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care will be closing its three Northeast Florida locations on Wednesday, Sept. 4. This includes closures for the Nemours downtown (San Marco), Fleming Island and Jacksonville South (Old St. Augustine Road) locations. 

Patients who have appointments scheduled on Wednesday, Sept.  4, will be contacted by the Nemours registration team to have their appointments rescheduled. 

Nemours encourages patients to call the Nemours weather hotline at 904-697-3566 for the latest information about operating hours. Additional information regarding scheduling changes this week will be communicated to patients and updated on the weather hotline as it becomes available. Florida operations updates as they become available are being posted at

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, UF Health Jacksonville's main hospitals on 8th street (UF Health Jacksonville downtown) and on the north campus (UF Health North) were open and running. The clinics on both of those campuses were open Tuesday, as are UF Health's oncology clinics throughout the region (other than those in evacuation zones, which includes the Fernandina Beach location). All other off-site clinics were closed Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, all clinics, including those on the downtown (8th Street) and UF North campuses will be closed. However, both hospitals remain open and running normal operations.

Thursday, Sept. 5, is TBD depending on Dorian’s track.

UF Health's incident command center has been open since the weekend and will remain open through the storm.

St. Vincent's continues to monitor Hurricane Dorian. Given area evacuations, closures and the storm’s potential impact, all Ascension St. Vincent’s medical group offices are closed through Wednesday. This includes primary care, urgent care and specialty care clinics.

All Ascension St. Vincent’s hospitals remain open as of Monday. Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County, Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside, and Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside will be closed to visitors only, beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, until the storm has passed. This is a standard precaution during a significant weather event such as a hurricane.

Emergency departments and inpatient care will remain fully open for patients.

Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, all elective surgeries and procedures at St. Vincent’s Riverside for Tuesday and Wednesday will be canceled and rescheduled. At St. Vincent’s Clay County and St. Vincent’s Southside, elective surgeries and procedures from Tuesday at 1 p.m. through Wednesday will be canceled and rescheduled. Patient notifications have begun and will continue. 

In response to Hurricane Dorian, Ascension St. Vincent’s is offering free online non-emergency, urgent care appointments via Ascension Online Care. Patients can use the code DORIAN at checkout to receive the visit for free. 

St. Vincent's continues to post updates at

As Hurricane Dorian approaches the Jacksonville coastline, Memorial Hospital Jacksonville is asking patients and family members to utilize only the ER entrance and to limit visitors to one per patient effective 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

Memorial Hospital utilizes a Fast Pass system during major weather events. Guests will enter via the ER and present their ID. This monitoring enables the hospital to be aware of everyone within the facility during critical weather events in order to ensure their safety. Security officers will be posted at the Women’s Entrance to assist pregnant mothers arriving in labor.

Memorial Hospital will provide safety tips and updates throughout this weather event via its Facebook page at

Jacksonville, Palatka, St. Augustine & St. Marys VA Clinics to close Wednesday

North Florida/South Georgia Veteran Health System leadership continues to closely monitor Hurricane Dorian and is taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.  

The decision was made to cancel outpatient appointments at the following NF/SGVHS Facilities on Wednesday, Sept. 4: 

  • Jacksonville Outpatient Clinic (and Jacksonville Southpoint and University) 
  • Palatka Community Based Outpatient Clinic
  • St. Augustine Community Based Outpatient Clinic
  • St. Marys Community Based Outpatient Clinic

All NF/SGVHS clinics will remain closed on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Gainesville and Lake City VAMC’s will remain fully operational on Tuesday, Sept. 3, excluding outpatient appointments.

If you have not done so already, please ensure you have your hurricane plans in place.  For more information on hurricane preparedness go to

Veterans who are experiencing medical or mental health emergencies are asked to visit the nearest emergency room or dial 911.

Veterans who require immediate urgent care services can call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for 24/7 support.  This service is not to be confused with emergency services.  For more information about the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center, please visit

Veterans from storm-impacted areas who require immediate assistance may contact the VA Veteran Disaster Line at 1-800-507-4571. Veterans and their families can receive information on where to go for care, how to receive prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care. The phone line will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

VA has activated the Pharmacy Disaster Relief Plan through Heritage Health. During Emergency Activation a patient can take an active, last filled within 180 days VA prescription bottle with remaining refills to any retail pharmacy and receive a 30-day supply under this emergency activation excluding controlled substances. Patient must present a valid ID. To contact pharmacy, call 1-800-324-8387 ext. 106526. 

If you have a health condition that requires life-saving equipment such as a ventilator, please ensure your back-up power (generator) is in working order. If you are a ventilator patient and do not have a generator or back-up power source, please contact your VA health care provider to discuss options that may be available to you. If you are on home oxygen, the home oxygen company should have an emergency plan in place. Check with them for requirements to receive back-up tanks. 

Health facilities evacuated as Hurricane Dorian looms

Florida officials said Monday that 72 nursing homes and assisted living facilities and seven hospitals on the state’s East Coast had been evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew told reporters that only four of the long-term care facilities were evacuated because they didn’t have emergency generators and access to backup power as required by law.

“They are making a determination based upon their buildings’ ability to withstand a Category 5 (hurricane), whether they are in the surge zone. So that is separate and apart from the generator,” Mayhew said.

Hurricane Dorian was a Category 4 storm Monday with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph as it pounded the Bahamas. The slow-moving storm was earlier predicted to make landfall in Florida, but the latest forecasts have Hurricane Dorian hugging the coast and avoiding direct landfall in Florida.

Nevertheless, mandatory evacuations have been ordered along many parts of the coast, as officials warn of storm surge, damaging winds and power outages.

Evacuating the nursing homes and assisted living facilities means that residents must be transferred to different locations. Mayhew didn’t directly answer whether any nursing home and ALF residents were being transferred to emergency shelters or special-needs shelters.

She said those decisions were not being made in Tallahassee.

“All of this is local. All of the coordination and the decision-making around evacuations are local,” she said. “Patient safety, our requirements, our expectations around patient safety, remain intact.”

After residents of a Broward County nursing home died following Hurricane Irma in 2017, the state put in place backup-power requirements for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after Irma knocked out the facility’s air-conditioning system, creating sweltering conditions.

Florida has 84,078 nursing home beds, with more than half -- 46,255 beds -- in facilities that have requested, and been granted, additional time to meet the backup power mandate.

The state has 106,254 ALF beds, with nearly 86 percent in facilities that have met the generator requirement. Facilities with 7,301 beds have requested and been given additional time to meet the requirement. But the state has another 7,762 beds in facilities without generators and without an approved “variance.”

The seven hospitals that had been evacuated were AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Cleveland Clinic South in Martin County, Port St. Lucie Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Stuart Sebastian River Medical Center and the Halifax Psychiatric Center North in Volusia County.

Moreover, Cleveland Clinic North partially evacuated its patients.

It was on a bus and off to Tallahassee for some people living at Starling at San Jose, an assisted living and memory care community in Jacksonville. In all, 60 residents at the independent and assisted living facility had to pack up their belongings and head out Monday.

"It was go, go, go. We started about 6 o’clock last night," said Starling Vice President of Operations Megan Kennedy. "We are bringing our medication carts. We are bringing water. We are bringing supplies. We are bringing beds, wheelchairs, walkers, comfort items for our residents." 

Some families came to pick up their loved ones.

"We live off of San Jose, so we are going to run them up the street, out of flood zone A," said Andy Stenson, who lives off of San Jose. 

About the Authors:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.