Florida Hospitalhas a new Development Plan under review by Orange County to build a 24-bed, freestanding emergency department in front of the existing BJ's Wholesale Club in Waterford Lakes.
Based southwest of the Lake Underhill Road-S. Alafaya Trail intersection, the property lies less than a half mile south of Waterford Lakes Town Center, and five miles west of the group's closest full-service hospital, Florida Hospital East Orlando.
Construction is projected to begin in August on the one-story, 18,500-square-foot emergency department, which will be very similar in layout and services to a free-standing ER under construction in Lake Mary, which is scheduled to open in May. That project's cost was estimated at $10 million last September.
The 10.87-acre parcel home to BJ's Wholesale is owned by an affiliate of Orlando-based REIT National Retail Properties, Inc. That owner and Florida Hospital did not respond to requests for comment on if the 1.82-acre outparcel would be sold or leased for the Waterford Lakes ER.
Florida Hospital Winter Garden, also a hospital-based emergency department but larger at three stories and 97,000 square feet, opened in January.
Free-standing emergency departments offer extended observation under the care of board-certified emergency physicians to patients who require emergency care but not hospital admission, said spokeswoman Kirsten Cutler.
"Hospital-based emergency departments offer cost effectiveness to the patient and prevent the added stress of a hospital admission," she added. "All of these facilities offer immediate transport via ambulance or helicopter to patients requiring care at a nearby full-service hospital."
All three of Metro Orlando's major hospital players are engaged in free-standing emergency department plans. The concept may be a way to establish their brand in growing communities, with a larger hospital possibly to follow.