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Polk County Developments

Stand-alone emergency rooms, surgery center and a micro-hospital planned in Polk County

As building continues to explode in Florida, the need for nearby health care also increases. Three facilities for emergency, urgent, surgical and ambulatory care on in the works in Polk County.

In Haines City, HCA Florida Healthcare has a site plan being reviewed by city planners for a 10,800-square-foot free-standing emergency room on U.S. 27, Ted Adkins, Haines City deputy director of development, told GrowthSpotter. The site plan for Poinciana Medical Center– designed by Nashville-based Hereford Dooley Architects for Winter Park-based Catalyst Design – shows a single-floor facility on 3.5 acres across 27 from Tower Lake south of Bates Road.

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Stand-alone ERs differ from traditional ERs in that they are not connected to a hospital so if more in-depth treatment is needed, patients are transferred to a traditional hospital facility. They are quicker and less expensive to build.

HCA bought 3.49 acres from Dennis L. Murphy Family Ltd. in January for $2.5 million, according to property records. The Murphy Family still owns several commercially zoned parcels surrounding the HCA property. No zoning changes are needed for the ER, Adkins said. HCA hasn’t shared a timeline with planners, he said.

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“The area is getting so populated, and traffic is getting higher,” Adkins said. “I could see where something like this would be needed to be a little bit more accessible.”

In February, HCA’s Kissimmee-based Osceola Regional Medical Center said it is planning to open its third free-standing emergency room in the Lee Vista area, just north of the Orlando International Airport. HCA announced last November it would open three new hospitals in Florida, including one near The Villages, which expands on its presence at the Trailwinds freestanding emergency room.

In Oct. 2021, Poinciana Medical Center, opened ChampionsGate Emergency to serve ChampionsGate and the Four Corners as its fifth freestanding ER in the Orlando market for HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division, which has existing facilities in Hunter’s Creek, Heathrow, Baldwin Park and the Millenia areas. HCA Healthcare currently operates more than 110 freestanding ERs nationwide. The company also recently filed plans for a free-standing ER on U.S. 441-S in Eustis, which would be the third new facility in the Central Florida market this year.

In Lakeland, Lakeland Regional Health is planning a free-standing ER, ambulatory surgery center and a medical office building on Kathleen Road at I-4, abutting CSX Railroad tracks. LRH is planning a 3-story, 36,957 square-foot building on less than an acre but will keep open space of 13.4 acres and impervious area of 8 acres, according to plans filed with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

LRH bought 3 parcels – for a total of 20.6 acres – for $5.73m in May 2021 from Interchange Group LLC, according to property records. Lakeland Regional Health sees opening the facility in 2023, according to the company’s website.

“Expanding comprehensive healthcare services to meet the local health needs of our area is one of our community objectives in our 5-year strategic plan,” Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, President and CEO of LakelandRegional Health said in a press release. “This new location will help us to achieve that goal while also addressing some of the opportunities highlighted in our Community Health Needs Assessment.”

Also in Lakeland, Houston-based Nutex Health is planning a “micro-hospital” at 5501 S Florida Ave. A micro-hospital is a small-scale inpatient hospital aimed at providing medical care in underserved communities a local alternative to the potentially long waits for emergency care at major hospitals. Houston-based Nutex announced a reverse merger with Clinigence Holdings – based in St. Petersburg, FL – in November to go public.

Nutex currently owns and operates 19 facilities in eight states. Nutex opened two micro-hospitals in December, while 12 additional facilities are under construction and are expected to become operational in 2022, according to a press release.

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Micro-hospitals target service gaps in ambulatory centers and free-standing emergency rooms. It requires less time for construction and low investment. “Nutex micro-hospitals provide 24/7 care, including emergency room care, inpatient care, and behavioral health, and offer a range of services including onsite imaging services such as CT scans, x-ray and ultrasound, as well as certified and accredited laboratories that provide immediate results, and onsite inpatient pharmacies,” according to a press release.

Kenneth Research said in a market report that the micro-hospital market will see a compound annual growth rate of ~7% between 2022 and 2030.

Polk County Development Review Commission held a pre-application meeting with representatives from Nutex last week.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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