Fast. Hospital floors reopened in 72 hours. (Photo courtesy of HCA Inc.)

Thanks to visits this summer by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, Nashville-based healthcare giant HCA Inc. estimates its 42 florida hospitals need $40 million of repairs. Damage ranges from leaky roofs and blown-out windows to collapsed walls and trees, says Thomas C. Gormley, HCA vice president of design and construction.

Crews from Bovis Lend Lease, New York City, arrived at HCA's Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte just 14 hours after Charley hit on Aug. 13. The four-story, 175,000-sq-ft hospital lost its roof and air handling units.

"We were able to pull and utilize all of our subcontractors from a nearby job," says Jerry W. Young, a Bovis project superintendent. They reopened three floors 72 hours after Charley, saving perhaps 10% off the $2-million repair cost, says Young.


HCA now is pricing electrical back-up generators for hospital cooling systems, since humidity and heat damaged electronic equipment. It also is looking at upgraded roofs and storm shutters.

As Florida's 276 licensed hospitals dry out, toxic mold threatens to create new airborne health hazards. Elizabeth Dudek, deputy secretary for Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, directed the hospitals to retain indoor air quality specialists, conduct building mold assessments and provide clearance reports for agency review.

That has resulted in a flood of new work for firms like PDG Environmental Inc., Pittsburgh. PDG has done more than $3.5 million of mold remediation, drying, demolition and general site clean-up since early August, says John C. Regan, PDG chairman. "[We're] looking at up to $10 million in hurricane-related revenues over...the next quarter or two." PDG has quadrupled its Florida work force to 600 managers and laborers.

MACTEC Inc., Alpharette, Ga., has seen work increase up to 70% in Florida, says Michael J. Ebel, a MACTEC project manager. The firm is handling mold remediation at an 850-room assisted care facility in Port Charlotte.

urricane-damaged and mold-prone Florida hospitals are keeping industry firms busy. They, in turn, are ramping up staffing, response time and revenue.