For hospitals across the country, lower occupancy rates and higher costs have caused health-care providers to reconsider how they deliver their services to their communities. One result is a rise in the construction of outpatient facilities, according to a survey by Health Facilities Management. Due to advances in technology, approximately half of all medical procedures no longer require an overnight stay at a hospital and can be performed at an outpatient facility.
“We’re seeing a shift from a one- or two-day hospital stay to an outpatient setting,” says Jesse Balok, principal at ECG Management Consultants, a strategic health-care consulting firm. “The health-care industry has recently been expanding their ambulatory and outpatient networks to provide health care to patients in the lowest-cost facility settings,” says Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate investment and property management firm. “We’ve seen this push realized in significant jumps in new construction in the outpatient field, as well as innovations in tele-medicine and at-home care.”
One example of this trend is Aurora Health Care, a major nonprofit healthcare network in Wisconsin. Aurora completed an $82 million outpatient surgery center in Burlington, Wis., in fall 2016. Earlier this year, the company announced its intention to build a $130-million outpatient surgery center and medical office building in Kenosha as well as a $55-million outpatient surgery center and medical office building in Greenfield.
A continuing trend is the rehabilitation of older facilities. “There’s a need for regenerating medical campuses that were built in the 1960s or 1970s [that are now] past much of their useful life,” says Balok.
“Many existing hospital towers of this era have double-loaded corridors and rooms that are not large enough to accommodate newer technologies, contemporary care practices or ‘rooming in’ of patients’ families. Several organizations have [built] or are building critical-care towers—high-acuity facilities which accommodate the sickest patients with bigger medical teams and more-advanced technology.”
An example of an older campus being updated, the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (N.Y.) is being replaced by the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, which is set to open this month. Turner Construction was the prime contractor on the $270-million facility.