Dr. Bruce Boros, Key West's longtime, and at one time only cardiologist, no longer occupies his formerly familiar office on Northside Drive, but the 27-year heart doctor hasn't missed a beat.
His new office, as of Aug. 28, is the building that formerly housed the popular Pizza Hut lunch buffet and most recently accommodated the island's ambulance service.
"Don't come in asking for a slice of pizza," Boros joked last week from his newly renovated digs at 1980 North Roosevelt Blvd.
But do go in -- or at least call -- if you think you may be having a heart-related health issue, he said.
"I always say, 'If you have, or even think you have, a heart problem, whether it's high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chest pains, foot swelling, numbness, anything, just call," he said. "My staff will triage it over the phone to try and determine whether it sounds like a cardio issue."
Patients do not need referrals from a general practitioner or family doctor.
"I don't say no to anybody," he said. "I'm here and I'm pretty much available 24/7."
The Miami native came to Key West and established what was then the island's only cardiology practice in 1985. He recently ended his relationship with the University of Miami, but has maintained beneficial relationships with doctors and hospitals on the mainland, where many patients are sent for certain procedures that aren't available in the Florida Keys,
"We're in a different location, but we have the same staff and are still doing the same on-site tests, such as EKGs, treadmill stress tests and all the diagnostics we can do," he said, emphasizing his philosophy as a patient advocate. "I don't want anyone to have unnecessary or duplicate procedures. Why send someone in for a cardio-catheterization down here, only to have them sent to Miami for the same thing again?"
Boros also has welcomed Dr. Richard Berger to the practice, as well as nurse practitioner Selena Clow. Dr. Joan Homan, a female cardiologist, will soon join the practice as well.
The group now has an office in Marathon that is staffed two days a week to alleviate the hour drive for Middle Keys residents who need to see a heart specialist.
"People want someone who's here in the Keys, who's been here in the Keys and who doesn't come back and forth from the mainland a few days a week," he said, adding that he is currently treating his "fourth generation of Conchs" and probably has 9,000 or 10,000 open patient files.
"Twenty-seven years is a long time," he said smiling. "But I can't imagine being anywhere else."
The boulevard construction hasn't been too much of a problem for Boros, who doesn't rely on drive-by traffic for customers. Rather, his patients almost always have appointments and have been fully briefed on the new location.
"There's plenty of parking, and we're pretty easy to get to from Fifth Street off of Flagler," he said, looking around at the spacious office that bears no resemblance to the former darkened interior that was lined with pizza booths and dark green carpeting.
"We finished the renovations [from the most recent incarnation as the rescue squad headquarters] in two and a half weeks," he said. "Most of the sub-contractors were either patients or friends, and my father was the general contractor. They all came in, looked around and said, 'Doc, we're going to get you in here as quick as we can.'"
A helpful staff at the city's building department was also instrumental in making the move efficient and painless, Boros said.
"I'm here, I'm not going anywhere and I'll get to the heart of your problem," he said, quoting one of his former radio commercial slogans. "I'm not missing a beat."