The car comes to a stop under the two-way covered portico, sheltering you from the elements. Lush greenery and blooming annuals abound. The automatic, gold-plated sliding doors open, revealing a grand entryway. In the foyer, rich cherry wood panels are offset by luminous stained glass inlays. Above, a soft sky is painted on the arched ceiling, surrounded by elaborate crown molding and cove lighting. Below, the floor, custom-made and hand-laid Italian terrazzo, literally sparkles in the light. Straight ahead, an oversized water feature offers an immediate calming effect. You’re warmly greeted at the earth-toned granite countertop, royal blue pendant lights shimmering above.
No, this isn’t an upscale Ritz Carlton resort—it’s the Florida Neurological Center (FNC). Dr. Lance Kim went above and beyond to ensure his patients’ comfort needs were met when designing his new office on SW 19th Avenue Road.
“My wife, Marie, and I have done extensive research to create a special ambience from the moment our patients walk through the doors,” says Neurologist Dr. Lance Kim. “The healing effect begins well before seeing the physician.”
The two private waiting rooms provide the best in creature comforts—comfy, plush chairs, large flat-screen TVs, and plenty of over-sized windows for natural light. And the patient benefits just get better from here.
To the left of the waiting room, through one of three, exquisite Italian metal doors, is the Solstice MRI Center. For a patient who must undergo an MRI, the process can often be a scary, nerve-racking experience. The gold standard in MRI, where quality of images is concerned, is the traditional closed MRI. Unfortunately, the patient is often left feeling anxious and claustrophobic. While the advent of the open MRI machine brought some relief to nervous patients, it posed other problems.
“The open MRIs aren’t truly open,” says Dr. Kim, “so patients can still feel claustrophobic. An even bigger problem, though, is that the quality of picture directly related to the magnetic strength of the traditional open MRI is one-sixth that of the closed MRI.”
Dr. Kim adds that this is cause for concern when implementing clinical decisions and courses of treatment for patients.
“For years doctors have wondered why a company couldn’t combine the best of both worlds—the comfort of an open MRI with the resolution of a closed one,” says Dr. Kim. “Well, it’s finally been done. Two years ago, European engineering perfected the technology, and we now finally have an open MRI that has identical, if not better, resolution than a closed MRI. Plus, the open space surrounding the patient is two times larger than the current open MRI machine.”
Currently, this high-resolution open MRI with virtual reality is only available at six centers in the United States. Dr. Kim has the only one in Florida, and it just happens to be here in Ocala.
Of course, with patient comfort being a priority for Dr. Kim and his staff, he went a step further when creating his MRI suite.
“Here you won’t walk into an impersonal, clinical room,” he says. “Instead, when you walk in, you’ll be presented with a remote control panel that features a dozen themes. You press a button and the entire room’s theme changes instantly while the procedure is going on”.
It really is a sight to see. In an instant, the MRI suite can be transformed into a tropical underwater landscape. Not a fan of the ocean? Try the rainforest option. There are even themes specially designed for children having to undergo medical testing.
“This is about special care for our patients,” Dr. Kim says. “We want to render the highest quality medical services in the most desirable ambient setting. We want you to feel like you’re our special guest at a resort clinic.”
Because this technology is so cutting edge, Dr. Kim’s facility has become something of a show-site for the rest of the world. His office is one of only four in the country that offers both the high-resolution MRI machine and the ambient lighting system.
“Engineers from Europe and the U.S. have worked hard to make this a world -class MRI suite,” Dr. Kim says. “Practices throughout the world will look to us as a model for creating such a suite. As a result, Ocala, as a city, will be talked about internationally.”
And Dr. Kim’s insight and expertise is highly sought after as well. He is expected to make a trip to Holland to discuss his perspective on MRI and medical technologies.
The best part for patients? There is no increase in cost—not a cent.
“I’m excited to provide this quality to patients at no extra charge, and to physicians to make their jobs easier,” he says.
As a neurologist, Dr. Kim holds an impressive six board certifications, including neurology, sleep medicine, vascular neu-rology (stroke), headache medicine, neurophysiology (epilepsy, sleep disorder, neuropathy), electrodiagnostic medicine (encompassing neuromuscular disorders including EMG and nerve conduction studies).
Because of Dr. Kim’s expertise, The Florida Neurological Center is a truly comprehensive center for neurological disorders including the FNC Sleep Disorders Center, MS Center of Ocala, Memory Disorder Center, Movement Disorder Center, Epilepsy Center, Neuromus-cular Disorder & Spine Disease Center, Botox Clinic, as well as the new Solstice MRI center. The list goes on.
“Sleep medicine has always been a passion of mine,” says Dr. Kim. “Sleep disorders like snoring, apnea, narcolepsy, chronic insomnia, or nocturnal movement disorder, are often misunderstood.”
As a board certified sleep medicine physician, Dr. Kim maintains top quality sleep study labs staffed by registered sleep technologists, and offers extensive treatments, setting the standard for sleep disorder centers.
Spending the night at the FNC Sleep Disorders Clinic is a treat for patients. Consider it a small escape from reality. Each of the richly appointed suites features comfortable linens, an adjustable bed, a private bathroom, and flat-screen televisions. As an added bonus, the ceilings are painted with a serene nighttime sky. Patients even have the option of ordering room service from Cuvée Wine & Bistro, the adjoining restaurant (see sidebar).
“Whatever needs our patients have, from an MRI to a sleep study, we will have something great to offer them,” Dr. Kim says. “Our patients deserve the very best in quality. We intend to provide the level of care you expect at a premier medical facility.”
Fine Dining In Ocala
Cuvée Wine & Bistro, an elegant wine tasting room and bistro adjacent to—and leased from—Florida Neurological Center, will open in just a few months. Cuvée will be an oasis of old world and contemporary style in an upscale, elegant restaurant. The unique wine bar will allow the tasting of over 100 rare wines from all over the world.
Cuvée will feature a high-tech computerized, self-serving wine system hand-made in Tuscany. “I’ve long been interested in fine wines and am intrigued by creative cuisine and ambience,” says Dr. Lance Kim, “especially their positive influence on how people feel.”
Four years in the making, Cuvée will offer patrons exquisite upscale health-conscious dishes, which they can pair with a delicious wine they’ve had the opportunity to sample. It will be a truly unique experience.
“And,” Dr. Kim adds, “I know Ocala is ready for it.”
Florida Neurological Center
2237 SW 19th Ave. Rd., Ocala, Florida 34471