Hospital construction booming

Despite the sluggish economy and uncertainly surrounding health reform, healthcare construction projects are booming in Kentucky, as large health systems and regional hospitals continue to make multi-million-dollar capital investments, according to The Lane Report.

There's Norton Healthcare System's $120 million project to change Suburban Hospital into Norton Women's Hospital and Kosair Children's Hospital, and Pikeville Medical Center's $130 million to build a new medical office building and upgrade a parking facility, the article noted.

Moreover, Frankfort Regional Hospital is spending $8 million on emergency department expansion, while Lifepoint Hospitals-owned Clark Regional Medical Center is adding a $10 million medical office plaza to accompany the $50 million hospital it opened in March.

Such booms aren't confined to Kentucky. For instance, Florida Hospital is spending almost $270 million to build three new women's healthcare towers, marking its second-largest capital investment in 100 years, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Orlando Regional Medical Center is embarking on the biggest renovation of its 95-years--a $300 million project that adds a 10-story patient tower, expands the emergency department, as well enhances cardiovascular, surgical, critical care, pharmacy and laboratory areas, according to the Sentinel.

These construction projects highlight the dilemma hospital C-suites are facing--whether to upgrade their existing facilities or build new. While Florida Hospital and Orlando Health chose expansions, Kentucky's Owensboro Medical Health System determined new construction to be a better deal.

"We also factored in the losses we would have sustained while renovating because we would have had to shut down sections of the hospital," Owensboro Medical President and CEO Jeff Barber told the Lane Report. "Building offsite in a new location meant that nothing would hinder our normal operations."

Last spring, hospitals and health systems were shifting their focus toward renovating old facilities, rather than building new ones.

To learn more:
- read the Lane Report article
- here's the Orlando Sentinel article