Flagler Health+ purchased 70 acres of property in Palm Coast with plans to build a comprehensive health complex, including a hospital, on the west side of the U.S. 1 and Palm Coast Parkway intersection, officials announced.
“The scope and timing of the hospital campus project is still in development,” said hospital spokeswoman Gina Mangus in an emailed statement. “We are excited to bring locally based hospital care and more services to the region that truly serve the unique needs of this very special community.”
The hospital system paid more than $2.2 million for the property, according to Flagler County Chairman Joe Mullins.
This is the second new hospital announced in Flagler County this year. In January, AdventHealth, which operates the only operational hospital in the county, announced plans to construct a $145-million, 100-bed hospital off Palm Coast Parkway near Bridgehaven Drive. The hospital system broke ground in September and the facility is expected to open in the spring of 2023.
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin said the city needs more health-care services.
“This will be another defining moment in the history of the City of Palm Coast as we welcome a second health-care service provider network into the city,” Alfin said Monday. “The demographic obviously supports health care and we look forward to the new arrival to broaden the variety of services and increase the service level of care to residents.”
Flagler Health+, which also operates Flagler Hospital in St. Johns County, did not provide details regarding cost, timeframe or a name for the new hospital.
“To ensure the community’s needs are being met, our strategy team conducted a market study which demonstrates that there is a need for additional outpatient care, acute care services and inpatient beds,” Mangus said in her statement. “With that, we are currently in discussions with UF Health regarding a collaborative approach to best achieve this.”
Mullins hopes the hospital will be up and running within the next year.
“They still need to go through planning and zoning,” he said.
But according to Mullins, Flagler Health+ will start collaborating with the county as early as next month with the addition of behavioral health services.
Flagler County’s Medical Needs
The county has been in talks with Flagler Health+ for the past two years, according to Mullins.
“We sat down with them a few years ago and have been working with them the last two years looking at locations,” Mullins said. “We’re very excited. They are committed to being a very strong community partner and have started working with us on mental health needs.”
The county, along with the cities of Palm Coast and Bunnell, have been working together to try and address the community’s medical needs, according to Mullins. Their hope is to turn Flagler County into a medical hub.
“This will bring high-paying jobs and services that the whole region can use, not just our county,” Mullins said. “They are recession-proof jobs. You just see an industry that is needed all the time.”
But for the moment, the most urgent needs are mental health services, labor and delivery, and other trauma-related services, according to Mullins.
“We need these services,” he said. “We have one of the top suicide rates in the state of Florida, no mental health services, zero labor and delivery and we’ve seen so many people come into the area that need them.”
Right now, AdventHealth Palm Coast is the only hospital in the county, and while it has stepped up to help care for the elderly in Flagler County, it has not been able to meet the additional needs for the younger population, according to Mullins.
Anyone needing labor and delivery or trauma services must travel to Volusia County to either Halifax Health or AdventHealth Daytona Beach or to Flagler Hospital in St. Johns County.
“As we step up as a community, these services are needed,” he said. “Flagler County is not gonna sit back and wait any longer for these things to happen. We’re going to get ahead of it.”
Adding another hospital will expand care options for residents across not just Palm Coast but the county as well.
“I think the market supports the competing health-care networks to the benefit of our residents,” Alfin said. “I believe there are enough patients and people who will use the hospital here to support what will now be three campuses. All of our residents in the City of Palm Coast will be in close proximity to all of the health-care services that they demand.”
Other Expansions By Flagler Health+
Flagler Health+ recently reached a clinical agreement with UF Health that includes expanding graduate medical education programs and an array of clinical services across Northeast Florida.
This will include new primary care sites in St. Johns and Flagler counties. Details have not yet been released as they are still under discussion, according to a hospital system press release.
Civil engineering work is currently underway on 7 acres that Flagler Health+ owns at the southwest corner of Matanzas Woods Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway where the it will build a signature health village, according to the release. The Palm Coast health village will incorporate family practice, behavioral health services, orthopedics, specialty care, imaging and laboratory services.
Flagler Health+ has already expanded its footprint in Flagler County with the addition of an orthopedics practice in the Palm Coast Town Center, a primary care office on Old Kings Road, and a virtual walk-in clinic located inside Publix.
In February, Care Connect+ also opened an office inside Flagler Health+ Specialty Care at 50 Cypress Point Parkway to better serve and coordinate care.
Care Connect+ awarded four Innovators Micro Grants to Flagler County nonprofit organizations to support programs for people experiencing homelessness, hunger, behavioral health issues, financial instability, or lack of access to transportation, medication or health care in Flagler County, according to the release.
Source: The St. Augustine Record