2017 A Busy Year For Health-Care Construction In Central Florida
January isn’t over yet and Oviedo Medical Center has unveiled its brand new 64-bed hospital, South Lake Hospital has broken ground on a free-standing emergency department in Leesburg, and Orlando Health has begun the first phase of its hospital campus at Horizon West in West Orange County.
And there’s more to come.
Local hospital systems have a full schedule of ground breakings and ribbon cuttings for facilities this year, ranging from new hospitals to free-standing emergency departments and medical office buildings.
In a highly competitive market, Orlando Health, Florida Hospital and the national chain HCA are grabbing different corners of Central Florida to build inpatient and outpatient facilities that can capture the business of the area’s steadily growing population.
“Most other areas in the country are trying to figure out how to get rid of [hospitals] and they’re talking about creative re-use. But in Florida we’re building and expanding,” said Anne Spencer, director of health-care practice group at Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate firm.
A major trend this year is construction of free-standing emergency departments, which are the front door to the hospital and make up for a large percentage of hospital admissions.
“But we need a mix,” said John Moore, president of South Lake Hospital. “We try to support development of additional primary-care offices because we don’t want people to use ER for primary care.”
Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole — the four counties that make up Central Florida — are home to nearly 2.4 million residents. This number is expected to grow to 2.6 million in 2020 and 3.7 million by 2045, according to projections by University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
The population in Osceola County is projected to have the highest growth among the four counties, with the potential for nearly doubling to about 600,000 residents in the next three decades.
Osceola Regional Medical Center, an HCA hospital, is investing $50 million in several construction projects this year, said CEO Davide Carbone.
The hospital is adding new floors to an existing patient tower, and bringing new services online, including an eight-bed Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and a 28-bed inpatient physical rehabilitation unit.
It’s also expanding its free-standing satellite emergency department in Hunter’s Creek by adding 9 beds.
“It’s a great place to be with all this growth,” said Carbone, whose main nearby competitor is Florida Hospital with campuses in Celebration and Kissimmee.
Not too far away stands Lake Nona Medical City, home to UCF College of Medicine. The school partnered with HCA last year to build a 103-bed teaching hospital there. If the project gets the final approval from the state, that construction could begin soon.
Meanwhile, Orlando Health and Florida Hospital have several projects in the works in Orange County, the most populous county in Central Florida and home to 1.3 million residents. That number is projected to grow to 2 million by 2045.
Florida Hospital is adding a seven-story inpatient tower and breaking ground on a three-story medical office building at Florida Hospital Winter Garden, turning the existing free-standing emergency department to a full-service hospital.
Its new 120-bed Florida Hospital Apopka campus is opening later this year, which will be an upgrade to the health system’s older hospital that will shut down.
And in the next few months, the health system will start building a stand-alone 24-bed emergency department in Waterford Lakes. It will also begin the construction of Project Wellness in Winter Park — a partnership with Winter Park Health Foundation.
The health system’s Winter Park Memorial Hospital is beginning construction on a five-story patient pavilion on the east side of the facility.
“I see us continuing to grow in multiple locations throughout the community,” said Tim Burill, vice president of facilities management for the health system. “It’s diverse in the offerings and goes back to getting closer to patients and where they live. And that means new facilities in places we’ve not been before.”
It’s a “fair assumption,” he added, that the hospital will be building more urgent-care centers too.
Orlando Health, the region’s other major health system, is focusing this year on developing what it dubs “Health Pavilions” — a flexible design of services and buildings tailored to meet each particular market’s demands, said CEO David Strong.
The first of those, the Spring Lake Health Pavilion in the Dr. Phillips area, is expected to open in the coming days. Another pavilion is slated to open in spring in Summerport on Winter Garden Vineland Road. Both will offer primary care, specialty care, imaging, laboratory services.
“Globally, you see a movement toward ambulatory and outpatient care, which are easier and cheaper for consumers,” said Strong. “And that [trend] will continue.”
A few weeks ago, Orlando Health began the construction of a free-standing emergency department at its Horizon West medical campus near State Road 429. It will start building an accompanying 103-bed hospital tower next year.
South Lake Hospital, which is part-owned by Orlando Health, is building two health pavilions with free-standing emergency departments. The Health Pavilion at Blue Cedar in Leesburg near U.S. Highway 27 and Florida’s Turnpike broke ground earlier this month, and another one at Four Corners at the junction of U.S. 27 and U.S. Highway 192 in Lake County, is expected to open later this year.
“As more people come to Central Florida, more hospitals will come online and come out of the ground,” said Spencer of Cushman & Wakefield. “I can’t tell you how many, but it’ll be interesting to see where each hospital system will stake their claim and where everyone’s territory going to be.”
Source: Orlando Sentinel