Region’s hospitals poised for a building boom

By Martin Lenkowky

A significant number of South Florida hospitals have started – or plan on starting –
expansion projects. When completed, the new building costs will total well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Some facilities are adding space onto already existing structures; other hospitals are building new structures entirely.

Projects include a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center in Miami, a new medical facility in Coral Springs and a decades-old hospital moving to another city.

Not everyone is happy. In two instances, neighboring hospitals have challenged another medical center’s plans. Here, SFBW summarizes many of these expansion plans.

The Miami Cancer Institute is coming to Baptist Health
The Miami Cancer Institute is coming to Baptist Health

Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health South Florida’s Miami Cancer Institute is slated for completion this October and will hopefully be treating its first patients by the end of December, according to Wayne Brackin, chief operating officer of Baptist Health South Florida.

The Miami Cancer Institute is joining an initiative called the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, which has been set up to help local medical facilities nationwide provide their patients with the latest, most advanced treatments. Memorial Sloan Kettering is a world-renowned cancer treatment facility located in New York City.

The idea for the project came about five years ago, Brackin explains. “That’s when we noticed people – even members of our own medical staff – leaving this community for more advanced care elsewhere once they were diagnosed,” he says. “It’s an effort to try to replicate those types of facilities here in South Florida. The MSK Alliance will allow access to clinical trials and research not available here in Miami. We would also become a destination for treatment.”

The $430 million Miami Cancer Institute will be an outpatient-only facility, Brackin says. Its physicians will be able to visit the New York location to observe new techniques in cancer treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Florida

As part of its $302 million expansion plan, Cleveland Clinic Florida plans to build a 65,000-square-foot facility in Coral Springs that will house up to 40 examination rooms and an ambulatory surgery center with several operating suites. In addition, Cleveland Clinic Florida will make capital improvements to its main campus in Weston.

Hospital spokesperson Arlene Allen says that, thus far, no estimated start or completion dates have been established for the projects. 

Updates to the Weston location include the addition of three operating suites as well as additional inpatient hospital beds. It will also include an expansion of its emergency department, imaging and lab facilities. General renovations and extra parking are also planned during the next three years. The Coral Springs site will also have procedure rooms and serve as a family health center for the area.

Delray Medical Center’s new North Tower
Delray Medical Center’s new North Tower

Delray Medical Center

Construction on Delray Medical Center’s new four-story, 150,000-square-foot North Tower and five-level parking garage is slated for completion in August 2017, according to a hospital spokesperson. Work on the expansion began in August 2015. The total estimated cost for the project is $79.4 million.

The project includes 96 private rooms, a helipad and direct patient access to the emergency department to expedite care for incoming trauma patients. “Our new patient tower will further our mission to deliver the highest-quality care in the safest and most comfortable environment possible,” says hospital CEO Mark Bryan.

The additional private rooms will provide better service for orthopedic, cardiac, neurological and oncology patients, Bryan adds. The new garage will be located behind the new building and will not be visible from Linton Boulevard.

Jackson Health System

Jackson Health System is “waiting for the process to weigh itself out” in regards to its plans to build a 100-bed hospital in Doral to serve west Miami-Dade County. “We think something might come down by early summer,” says spokesperson Edwin O’Dell. In December 2015, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) approved plans for the hospital; however, five other hospitals have launched lawsuits challenging the AHCA ruling.

The proposed new hospital is part of Jackson Health System’s plans for a medical campus being referred to as “Jackson West.” The site will also include a pediatric center, physician offices, a stand-alone emergency room and outpatient surgery. O’Dell says that the area needs the proposed hospital along with the other medical facilities. “Our research showed there’s a ‘health care desert’ in the Doral area,” he says.

The proposed Jackson West site is a 27-acre parcel on the west side of the Palmetto Expressway on 25th Street. Jackson Health System purchased the land last year for $38.5 million. According to O’Dell,
$69.5 million, including the land purchase, has been budgeted for the new complex, not including the new 100-bed hospital.

No timetable has been established for construction new hospital, but O’Dell says by 2018, some of the planned facilities at the Doral site should open their doors.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Boca Raton Region Hospital’s new 40,000-square-foot rehab center is slated for completion by year’s end, says Mindy Shikiar, vice president for oncology and ambulatory services. “This is a complete expansion of existing space,” she says.

The estimated cost of the project is $14 million, Shikiar adds. A $10 million gift by Elaine Wold was made in honor of Gloria Drummond, a founder of the hospital; the new rehab facility will be named the Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute.

According to Shikiar, the center will be home to physical, occupational and speech therapy, along with orthopedic rehab, sports medicine, wound care, neurological rehab, cardiac rehab, a diabetes center and an aquatic therapy center. Hospital employees will also be able to use the center for wellness programs and activities, Shikiar says.

A nursing station planned at Delray Medical Center’s North Tower
A nursing station planned at Delray Medical Center’s North Tower

Plantation General Hospital

Thus far, no timetable has been set for Plantation General Hospital’s plan to relocate to Davie, adjacent to the Nova Southeastern University campus. Hospital administrators say the proposed state-of-the-art facility will be able to enhance patient care and treatment.

“Our collaboration with NSU will elevate the level of services we can offer by integrating a research and academic component into our scope of care to patients,” says Michael Joseph, HCA East Florida Division president.

NSU has a long-established osteopathic medical school and is opening a new allopathic (M.D.) program.

Hospital administrators say the nearly 50-year-old Plantation facility is beginning to show its age and they would rather spend the millions of dollars for needed renovations toward building a new 200-bed facility.

The plans to relocate PGH have met opposition from other area hospitals. Ongoing lawsuits to prevent the move have been filed by Memorial Healthcare System and Cleveland Clinic. The legal challenges contend the new proposed facility would reduce the number of patients at other existing hospitals.

Memorial Hospital West

Memorial Hospital West has plans to expand the bed tower at its Pembroke Pines location by 120 beds. CEO Ken Hetlage says no exact timetable has been set, but construction is expected to begin sometime this fall. No firm end date has been established, but it could be roughly January 2018. The hospital’s bed tower currently stands only four stories. The hospital feels the expansion is needed due to the increased volume of patients in the area. Hetlage could not provide any cost estimates for the project, but says the plans are to add an additional three floors of patient rooms.

In addition, Memorial Hospital West will be adding 35,000 square feet (at a cost of $16 million) to an existing building on its Pembroke Pines campus to support its graduate medical education program. Hetlage says an additional two-story structure will be attached to the building. The additional rooms will be used as call rooms for medical residents, office space for corps staff, teaching space, two classrooms and an auditorium. Construction is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks and is projected to be completed in spring 2017.

A patient room at Kindred Hospital South Florida-Hollywood
A patient room at Kindred Hospital South Florida-Hollywood

Kindred Hospital South Florida-Hollywood

Last month, Kindred Hospital South Florida-Hollywood opened its new skilled nursing unit, co-located within its hospital. This new 30-bed subacute care facility provides patients with rehabilitation therapy to help transition them from inpatient care back into the community.

Joan Fredella, the new facility’s executive director, says, “We work in tandem with the hospital in order to ensure coordination between levels of care, improve clinical outcomes and provide a smoother road to recovery for our patients.”

Fredella could not provide any cost estimates to build the subacute unit, which is adding approximately 50 new jobs within the Kindred Healthcare facility. 

Miami Jewish Health Systems

Although still in its earliest stages of planning, Miami Jewish Health Systems has a vision to create a unique living environment for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. “It’s based on an ALF [assisted living facility] environment,” says Chure Gladwell, vice president and chief development officer at Miami Jewish Health Systems Foundation. She describes the planned living facility, tentatively named “Miami Jewish Empathicare,” as a secure, self-contained environment. “There’ll be activities reminiscent of everyday life,” she says. “This will allow residents to have as normal a life as possible. It will have music, art, performances and organic gardening for the residents to enjoy.”

Gladwell says she is not ready to announce any projected timetable – or costs – for the project, which will consist of multi-resident housing units with a shared kitchen and common areas. There will always be someone around to ensure patients are safe. Double security at the entrances will make sure residents cannot leave and strangers cannot enter. ¿

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