Florida health system tackles expansion challenges to meet growing demand

One Florida health system faces a challenge, albeit a positive one considering the financial strain many other hospitals are feeling around the nation--how to deal with a growth spurt.

Hospital construction projects are underway at Leesburg Regional Medical Center (LRMC) and The Villages Regional Hospital as the state experiences its largest upswing of the year when an influx of retirees invade the state, Central Florida Health Alliance President and CEO Don Henderson told the Daily Commercial.

From January to April, the hospitals must have enough staff, including doctors and nurses, and equipment to handle the 30 percent population increase in the counties surrounding the hospitals. They must also streamline emergency room operations, according to the article.

"Overall our market is growing; and the growth of The Villages especially is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, so we are trying to respond to that and keeping up with the growth is challenging," Henderson told the newspaper.

Within the next few years, Henderson said the two facilities will each need to add beds to meet the ever-growing demand from the community. They will also expand the types of procedures they perform, such as partial-knee replacements, which are less invasive than traditional knee replacements.

The hospitals have also made changes based on their patient demographics--60 percent of them are Medicare recipients. LRMC, which has 322 beds, plans to add 29 private observation rooms to care for patients, and will soon host an urgent care center on campus, set to feature an in-house lab, X-ray and other preventive services. The Villages has 223 beds and is adding 62 by the summer of 2015 with shelled in space for an additional 38 beds. 

Central Florida Health Alliance isn't the only health system growing in the state. Florida Hospital spent almost $270 million in 2012 to build three new women's healthcare towers, marking its second-largest capital investment in 100 years, FierceHealthcare previously reported. And Orlando Regional Medical Center embarked on the biggest renovation of its 95-years--a $300 million project that added a 10-story patient tower, expanded the emergency department, and enhanced cardiovascular, surgical, critical care, pharmacy and laboratory areas.

To learn more:
- here's the article