Central Florida Health Care (CFHC) in Avon Park held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, to mark the opening of their new Pediatric Center. CFHC is located at 950 County Road 17-A West.

The celebration included a social networking hour, a short speaker program, meet and greet with the Pediatric and Adult Medical staff, hor d’oeurves and prizes.

“Three years ago we wrote a grant for $1 million in FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) capital improvements,” said Ann Claussen, CEO of CFHC. “We received the grant and had three years to build. We expanded pediatrics and added pediatric dental. We still have all the adult services. This expansion added 8-10 new jobs with a total of 25 staff members.”

The Pediatric Center includes the medical staff (Dr. Sanja Cosic and Teresa Lyle, ARNP) and the dental staff (Dr. Michelle Modaff and Jamise CRDH). Dr. Kimber Vasquez and Elizabeth Rauch, care for adult general medical needs.

“We are so happy to have a new building and to be expanding services in Avon Park,” said Denise Collazo, administrator. “We have a new sick room for kids and parents where they can be comfortable away from others in the waiting area. We have three open dental rooms for routine dental care and two closed rooms where the dental hygienist will do the cleanings.”

They have six medical exam rooms with full lab, x-ray and pharmacy services on site. The new building is very nice and is child friendly.

“I started working in Frostproof two days a week. I’m now full-time, adding three days a week here,” said Teresa Lyle, ARNP. “This is a special type of clientele here. I’ve always liked working with kids; it’s my favorite niche.”

Dr. Michelle Modaff is the new dentist. “I’ve been a dentist for 20 years, working with adults and some kids. I like working with kids more. They’re more interesting. They tell you what they think and are very up front about it.”

Avon Park Mayor Garrett Anderson addressed the group.

“It all began here in 1972 in Frostproof,” he said. “The center in Avon Park opened in 1980, with the current main building completed in 2000. We are delighted that CFHC decided to expand services to serve our community.”

“We’ve come a long way in responding to closing critical gaps in services,” said David Duke, board chair of CFHC. “We have 14 clinics serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. We offer adult and pediatric medical and dental, behavioral health, and soon will offer optometry.”

The big ribbon cutting scissors were handed to Claussen by George Karos with the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce.

“We strive to bring together all of Avon Park. We have a wealth of resources here,” said Karos.

A dedication of the children’s waiting room was made in honor of nurse Cassandra Tate. On the wall is a plaque that reads: “The Children’s Waiting Room of CFHC is dedicated in honor of Cassandra E. Tate for her 24 years of service to children and families of Avon Park and for the kindness and compassion she showed to everyone she met.”

CFHC is a 501 (3) nonprofit organization that serves the underinsured and uninsured in Highlands, Hardee and Polk counties. Payment for services is based on a sliding scale for those who are income qualified.

For more information, including hours of operation, please call 866-234-8534 or visit their website at www.cfhconline.org.

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