A year after the global financial crisis and soaring bond rates rocked hospital construction programs around the country, health-care owners are continuing with expansion and renovation plans to enhance the patient experience, keep pace with future demand and boost operational efficiency. Although the economic turmoil caused several projects to be put on hold or shelved, a number of hospitals have managed to overcome economic challenges and move forward with capital investments. For example, Kaiser Permanente’s $500-million, 340,000-sq-ft hospital and 217,000-sq-ft medical office building in Vacaville, Calif., opened this fall after a six-month delay. Ohio State University Medical Center recently announced an ambitious $1-billion campus renovation that will include the construction of a new 17-story hospital tower, and in Indiana, St. Francis Hospital & Hospital Centers resumed work on a $265-million expansion to construct a six-story, 221-bed inpatient tower as well as additional facilities at its campus in south Indianapolis.
“Construction had been delayed because of the turbulent economic environment,” says St. Francis CEO and President Robert Brody at the health-care provider’s Beach Grove, Ind., campus. “Today the situation has improved. After careful and ongoing evaluation of key economic indicators and the financial performance of the hospital, the board of trustees voted to resume the project at full steam ahead.”