Christus recently opened a micro-hospital in Bossier, La., with a full-service ER, radiology services and capacity for 11 inpatient beds.
To build or not to build?
Micro-hospitals gaining favor with health systems amid shift to ambulatory care
Smaller hospitals are scaling down and stripping services, while larger systems are doubling down on their outpatient facilities, which are generating a greater portion of revenue.
Oklahoma University Medicine is sticking with its plans to build a $363 million patient tower at OU Medical Center, which is expected to open in the second quarter of 2020 after about a decade in the pipeline. Contrary to many other providers that have too many beds, the Oklahoma City hospital has operated at about 90% occupancy for about four years, executives said. The academic medical center also needs to update its perioperative capacity and other facilities, similar to other systems looking to upgrade worn infrastructure.
Executives said there is high demand for cancer care, and OU sees the opportunity to attract patients who had sought oncology services elsewhere. The academic medical center aims to build out its neurological services, bone marrow transplant operations, cardiovascular lines, trauma care and other higher-end services. It will also bolster their physician training programs.
Part of the demand stems from rural and community hospitals that are paring down their services as margins thin, said Kris Wallace, president of OU Medical Center.
"There is continuing demand as we see an increasing number of transfers to ICU-level care, which is not available 24/7 in some of the other facilities," she said.
While OU has expanded its outpatient imaging sites for breast screenings and added telemedicine touch points, it wouldn't make sense to continue to increase access points via ambulatory facilities if it didn't have any additional inpatient capacity, executives said.
The project will add 32 new operating rooms and 144 patient beds and OU Medicine aims to hire 100 more employees by year-end to supplement the 200 it has already added.
The beds can be used either for the ICU or medical-surgical services. They will allow the organization to seamlessly transition between short-term and long-term use, allowing patients to stay in the same room and ideally improving care delivery and patient satisfaction, executives said.
The new tower and pediatric expansion will consume about 70% of the medical center's five-year capital spending budget. "We have a great need to grow the number of physicians in our state," said Charles Spicer, CEO of OU Medicine.
Rendering of the OU Medical Center patient tower
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