About Health First

By  //  February 1, 2012

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Our four not-for-profit hospitals—Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, and Palm Bay Hospital in Palm Bay,  Viera Hospital, which opened in Viera on April 2, 2011- form the core of Health First’s family in Brevard County on Florida’s Space Coast.

Other services include outpatient centers; the county’s only trauma center; home care; specialized programs for cancer, diabetes, heart, stroke, and rehabilitative services; central Brevard’s largest medical group; three fitness centers; and Medicare Advantage, commercial POS, and commercial HMO health plans.

Working together in a seamless system, Health First is devoted to integrating quality healthcare services with state-of-the-art technology.

Health First also works together with other organizations and physicians in our community. Health First donates to the Brevard Health Alliance that provides healthcare services to thousands of underinsured or uninsured Brevard residents who are otherwise unable to pay for healthcare services.

Our associates are also actively building a healthier community through volunteering for organizations dedicated to preventing and treating health concerns such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We’re also proud of our associate’s charitable giving plan, EAGLES (Every Associate’s Gift Leaves Everlasting Spirit), that promotes tissue and organ donor awareness, provides dental services for Brevard Health Alliance patients, and supports the Bright Star Center for Grieving Children & Families.


The roots of Health First run deep in Brevard, dating back to 1937 when Brevard Hospital first opened in Melbourne with 27 beds. Now known as Holmes Regional Medical Center (HRMC), the hospital is Brevard’s largest, with 514 beds. Cape Canaveral Hospital (CCH) opened in 1962 with 44 beds, and has since grown to 150 beds. Palm Bay Hospital (PBH) opened in 1992 as a satellite of HRMC with 60 beds.  Viera Hospital opened in 2011 with 84 all private, in-patient rooms.

Health First was formed when CCH, HRMC, and PBH joined together in August 1995 to create a truly integrated not-for-profit healthcare delivery system and fulfill a common mission of improving the health of our community. The first new services added in the Health First family were Health First Physicians, opening in late 1995, and Health First Health Plans, opening in January 1996. Since then, we’ve also added, Holmes Regional Trauma CenterVitalWatch- Central Florida’s only electronic Intensive Care UnitViera Hospital, and many other services to our family.

Major Milestones

Throughout its history, Health First has lead the way in bringing the latest advances in health care to our community. Some of our major milestones include:September 2004: Health First VitalWatch, our centralized, 24/7 critical care monitoring system began operating in intensive care units at Palm Bay Community Hospital, Cape Canaveral Hospital, and Holmes Regional Medical Center.August 2004:Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for all diagnostic imaging services within Health First to go online.March 2004: Holmes Regional Medical Center breaks ground for $115 million campus expansion

January 2004: HRMC listed in Money magazine as one of “America’s Top Hospitals” for interventional cardiology and stroke care

November 2003: Melbourne-Palm Bay Area Chamber of Commerce names Health First Health Plans Business of the Year

October 2003: Health First Clinical Research Institute begins operations to coordinate research trials and studies in the Health First system

November 2002: Health First’s administrative services and Health First Health Plans division move into new office building in Rockledge

September 2002: Cape Canaveral Hospital’s cancer care program affiliates with University of Florida (UF)/Shands HealthCare

October 2001: Health First implements paperless clinical information systems, including electronic patient medical records, physician orders, and test results

June 2000: Holmes Regional Medical Center named a “Top 100 Heart Hospital” by HCIA-Sachs for the second year in a row

May 2000: Holmes Regional Trauma Center opens as an affiliate of the University of Florida Health Science Center – Jacksonville

August 2000: Cape Canaveral Hospital designated a “Baby-Friendly™ Hospital” and birth facility by UNICEF/World Health Organization

June 2000: First Flight receives a new air ambulance helicopter capable of transporting two patients at a time

1996: 90,000-square-foot Health First Healthplex opens on Merritt Island featuring Pro-Health & Fitness Center, Health First Physicians offices, and diagnostic and rehabilitation services

1996: Health First Heart Institute launched as an affiliate of the University of Florida’s College of Medicine

1996: Health First Health Plans created to offer HMO plans in Brevard

1995: Health First Physicians medical group formed with primary care physicians throughout Brevard

1995: Cape Canaveral Hospital, Holmes Regional Medical Center, and Palm Bay Community Hospital joined together to create Health First