After paying his way through medical school working in the shipyard and serving as a flight
surgeon on the Yorktown during World War II, Dr. Benjamin J. Bond envisioned a “one-stop” medical clinic in Winter Haven. He selected pediatrician Dr. Rita Marotti, OB/GYN, Dr. T.C. Karamidas, and primary care physician Dr. William Steele to help him realize this vision. They opened Bond Clinic in the New Coker Building on June 1, 1949.
By 1954, the clinic had expanded to six physicians and opened a new facility across from Winter Haven Hospital on First Street. They later outgrew this location and moved to their current main campus on Central Avenue in 1978. Today, Bond Clinic is a professional association comprising over 100 providers encompassing 28 specialties.
Dr. Panagiotis Iakovidis, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, joined the clinic in 1996 and became the president and CEO of Bond Clinic in 2009.
The first challenge Dr. Iakovidis faced in 2009 was the operations of the clinic. Once they were able to streamline and develop efficiencies within the operational part of the clinic, they looked to where healthcare was going in the future with the technology that existed at that time. “At that
point, it was pretty clear to us that value-based care would be the best option for healthcare, not just for Bond Clinic but our society. And that’s what we embraced,” Dr. Iakovidis said. “We spent a significant amount of time learning about it, searching for partners, and developing a program and a plan that would be implemented over the following five to 10 years.”
Discussing the legacy Bond Clinic has forged throughout its 75 years in operation, the CEO said, “I think the legacy of the Bond Clinic that has been established has been quality care and commitment to the community.” He noted that their physicians are leaders in the local healthcare community who bring with them new ideas learned through their training and residencies. “We took initiatives where physicians of the Bond Clinic started unique programs that helped Winter Haven Hospital.”
A testament to this legacy was Bond Clinic’s acceptance of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Large Business of the Year award several years ago. More recently, the Winter Haven City Commission proclaimed September 2023 ‘Bond Clinic Month’ in celebration of its 75th anniversary.
“This is a huge honor for us, for this organization that has been here for 75 years,” said Dr. Iakovidis. “I think that’s a reflection on this change that we’ve made as a quality organization, but now we’re focused on a significantly higher level to what we were doing before.”
Asked how they’ve celebrated this milestone anniversary, Dr. Iakovidis remarked, “At Bond Clinic, we celebrate every day that we’re in the Bond Clinic. It’s an honor and responsibility for us to be part of this organization, and we’re looking forward to the future, but at the same time, we enjoy the precious time we spend within the organization and all the challenges that healthcare has today.”
Dr. Iakovidis’ most impactful memory over his tenure with the clinic has been their ability to adjust to value-based care. “I think the team put forth a tremendous effort and continues to do so to accomplish the goals. The best competition that we’ve created is ourselves,” he said. “Those three things (quality, access, and affordable care) we want to be the legacy of the Bond Clinic that not only is part of the past but becomes a future goal as we elevate the care that we deliver.”
Proud to be a part of the Winter Haven and its surrounding areas, Bond Clinic dedicates time and resources throughout the community. They regularly participate in community events and health fairs, partner with area colleges/trade schools to offer clinical training for students, and support many local sports clubs and organizations through donations and sponsorships.
“That’s why this organization exists,” said Dr. Iakovidis. “It’s not only the healthcare delivery that we are proud of. The majority of our doctors live in Winter Haven. Our goal is to have our physicians and members of this medical community be part of the community.” Bond Clinic Marketing Director Ashley Scanlan agreed, adding, “This is our home. What can we do to make this the best it can be?”
Dr. Iakovidis reflected on the organization’s roots and its founding physicians. “I think they would be very proud. They were individuals that had a unique view. Winter Haven was very different then. They had different backgrounds. From what we heard and saw, the care that they delivered was at the highest level at the time. I think they also took great pride in what they did.” Not only proud but perhaps they would even be surprised at the level that Bond Clinic has raised. “I think we are representing them well, and we hope that the next generation of doctors that join the Bond Clinic and become the leaders in this community will also do the same.”
Scanlan noted, “The family members of those physicians are still around, and some of them are still patients here. To be able to hear those stories is incredible. It started with [four] physicians, and now we have over 100 providers covering 28 specialties. Dr. Bond’s idea was to have healthcare for the whole family, and I think we have more than accomplished that.”
A look through photos in the lobby at the main campus gives a glimpse into how important this history is to Dr. Iakovidis. Given these pictures by family members of the founding doctors, it was at his direction to put them in the lobby for all to see. A look at provider photos outside the boardroom wall on the second floor is a testament to the clinic’s lasting relationship with its providers. “We want physicians that will stay here for their whole career,” said Dr. Iakovidis. “That’s what we take pride in, that doctors come here and stay for the rest of their lives.” A photo that may one day join that wall alongside his father is Dr. Triantafilos Iakovidis, the CEO’s son (the first father and son team at the clinic).
Aside from quality healthcare, steadfast community engagement, and provider retention, Bond Clinic has focused on expanding its reach. “Until 2014, Bond Clinic had never had a successful clinic outside of Winter Haven,” said the CEO. A part of their future success relied on creating satellite clinics – extensions of Bond – throughout the community. They’ve been successful in this endeavor with primary care physicians and specialists in Davenport, an orthopedic building with physical therapy in front of LEGOLAND, and their Lakeland office. “We’re very thankful that with the support of this community and many partners we’re able to continue our efforts every day and in the future,” Dr. Iakovidis said.
“Our doctors have helped create the healthcare experience in our neighborhood now,” said Ashley Scanlan. From cardiology to OB/GYN, Bond Clinic has paved the way for community healthcare. “Our doctors were part of bringing that and ensuring our community had the best.”
The clinic’s future looks to continue partnerships with similar-minded entities, according to Dr. Iakovidis. This will ensure they continue to meet their goals and differentiate them from other healthcare organizations. “Quality, access, and affordable care to our community at large are the three pillars for our success, but at the same time, the three pillars that will connect us even closer to our community.”
Original article may be found in HAVEN Magazine, November 2023 Edition WORDS Tara Crutchfield PHOTOGRAPH Provided Nov 1, 2023