The presence of Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center has helped make Northeast Polk County a magnet for independent primary care physicians.
DAVENPORT – More and more people, Melanie Barnhart noted, don’t want to be tied down to medications. They want to know how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that keeps them from getting sick in the first place.
And one of the most popular forms of a healthy lifestyle these days, she said, is weight loss.
“We have a lot of people that come in for our weight loss program, and who want to do preventative health — including a lot of local teachers,” Barnhart said. “It’s great to have healthy teachers in the community, who can set an example for the kids. “
It’s also important, she said, for a medical office like the one that Barnhart manages in Davenport, the Citrus Ridge Health Center. At a time when health care costs remains a big issue for many families, “Medicare is very much pushing for preventative medicine as well,” she said.
Melanie Barnhart and her husband, Dr. Scott D. Barnhart, operate Citrus Ridge Health Center, the new center that had its grand opening on Saturday, April 28 at their location at 109 Lake Davenport Boulevard, in the Four Corners area of Northeast Polk County, close to the Polo Park development.
Formerly known as Four Corners Chiropractic, the office has expanded its outlook to provide not just relief from pain back, but also alternatives to traditional medicines.
And it’s another reminder that Northeast Polk County has in recent years become a magnet for independent physicians of all kinds of specialties, as the region’s unique mix of new residents from other states, snowbirds from the north, and tourists all provide steady opportunities for those who aim to meet the health care needs of the region.
Melanie Barnhart noted that they’ve been in the Four Corners area since 2003, providing chiropractic services to area residents. They opened the new office as Citrus Ridge Health this month because they decided to expand their services to include weight loss and other nutritional and lifestyle counseling programs.
“We integrated our clinic to provide more services,” she said. “It’s not just chiropractic anymore. We have a medical physician in the clinic, also.”
The new building is 2,200 square feet and employs seven people. The new office is also their first in Polk County, since Four Corners Chiropractic was located a short distance away, on U.S. 192 in South Lake County. What made them decide to move, Barnhart said, is that most of their patients were coming from Polk County.
“We were in Clermont, only a mile away,” she said. “We looked to our patient database and realized most our patients were from Davenport to begin with.”
Part of the reason so many independent health care providers have opened an office in Northeast Polk County and Four Corners is close proximity to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, which is just down the road on U.S. 27 in Haines City.
A 200-bed, acute care hospital has 200 physicians on staff who cover more than 30 specialties, Heart of Florida has continued to expand in recent years, and now offers a Designated Stroke Center and nationally-certified Chest Pain Center.
Heart of Florida also has a full-service on-campus Therapy Center offering therapies to help patients get back to an active and pain-free lifestyle.
And their expansion continues, noted Linda Vendl, the marketing director for Heart of Florida.
“We’re moving into the new fifth floor, and opening up a women’s center there,” Vendl said. “That’s been under way, and that’s definitely an expansion of what we provide. This June it will open.”
Barnhart said the region’s unique mix of residents has proven to be the perfect location for Citrus Ridge Health, and they’ve done well working with patients who want to learn how to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“We tried to combine both modern medicine and natural health together, to look at the patient as a whole,” she said. “We also offer nutritional counseling, and we can help them work through their weight loss plan and weight loss goals.”
This cluster of independent health care offices, in shopping plazas all along U.S. 27, makes Four Corners and Northeast Polk a popular spot for people throughout Central Florida who are looking for specialized care, she said.
“There are so many health care companies in the area of Four Corners,” she said. “We’ve been here since 2003, and we’ve seen quite a few other primary care physicians come in. There is a need for this — and not enough buildings done for all of them.”
To learn more about Citrus Ridge Health, call 863-256-5030 or log on to

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