A 23-member neurosurgery team, including seven doctors, is moving from Doctors Hospital to Larkin Community Hospital as the South Miami facility continues to expand.
By John Dorschner
Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami announced another major expansion Tuesday with the establishment of a new neurosurgery center for a 23-member team that been has based at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. Neurosurgeon Aizik L. Wolf, an expert in Gamma Knife surgery, is leading his group, the Miami Neuroscience Center, to Larkin after 18 years at Doctors, which is part of Baptist Health South Florida. The Gamma Knife is a radiology machine that targets specific areas in the brain to treat tumors and other conditions without damaging other areas. Wolf has performed more than 7,000 procedures with the device. The new center will include Perfexion, the latest model of the Gamma Knife, as well as magnetic resonance imaging and CT-scan machines. The team will move in January. “I want to have a center of excellence,” Wolf said Tuesday. “There are many hospitals that wanted me to go there, but Larkin gave me the opportunity to set up” a complex that will house an imaging center in the same building with the doctors’ offices. Eventually Wolf hopes that a boutique hospital will be built on Larkin grounds with dedicated operating suites for neurosurgery. Wolf said he made the move because “my vision of where medicine needs to go is diverging radically from where Baptist seems to be going.” He said he wanted to establish a doctor-centered practice while Baptist, with six hospital campuses, is focusing on becoming an ever-larger organization. Baptist did not immediately respond Tuesday for a request for comment. Six other physicians are moving with Wolf, who says that about a third of his patients come from Latin America. Larkin, a 142-bed facility, has been in an expansive mood lately. In October, it announced a major step toward becoming a multi-speciality teaching hospital by starting a psychiatric residency program for medical doctors. It also has several other residency programs for osteopathic doctors. On Tuesday, Jack Michel, chairman of Larkin’s board, said the Gamma Knife team was “an addition of a state-of-the-art capability, part of the plan to change Larkin into a teaching hospital and a valuable asset to the community.” Wolf said he fully supported Michel’s plans: “I am going to spend the rest of my medical care trying to make his visions go.” In 2010, Larkin showed net income of $2.8 million on $51 million in net patient revenue, with an occupancy rate of 56.1 percent of licensed beds, according to state records.