Panama City, FL – Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center has announced the addition of Tony Pena, MD, as its new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Medical Director.

Dr. Pena oversees the 18-bed NICU in the hospital’s new critical care wing. The NICU expanded from a 10-bed Level II unit with the capacity to provide Level III care in January 2014. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center will have the capability to care for many of these babies here in Panama City without having to transfer them to another facility in Pensacola, Gainesville or Birmingham.

For seven years, Dr. Pena served as Corporate Medical Director for Pediatrix Medical Group at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, FL. He also served at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL, and Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, FL.

“The development of a Level III NICU in Bay County not only represents a void filled in Bay, but also within the region extending into Southern Alabama. Families are currently being displaced for hundreds of miles to receive this level of care, often, for a prolonged period of time of three or more months. This creates an emotional and financial disruption, further adding to their heart-wrenching situation of having a newborn baby in an ICU. Along with the Level III NICU, we will also have Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists that will keep high-risk expectant mothers from having to travel for their specialized care. These services, Neonatal and Maternal Fetal Medicine, will prevent the separation of the mother and baby. As the NICU Medical Director at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, I feel privileged and take great pride to be part of a facility that is committed to putting the patient first and providing a superior level of care,” said Pena.

“We’re truly excited about the addition of Dr. Pena to our team. He was very instrumental in assisting us with the opening of our new NICU and he will continue to help lead us as we become a regional provider of Women’s & Children’s Services across Northwest Florida,” said Carlton Ulmer, President and CEO at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

A fellowship-trained Neonatologist at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Pena earned his medical degree at the Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic. He served his Neonatology residency and internship at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, NY.