- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) has announced its plans to build a new $1 billion pediatric hospital in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven, GA, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- The project is estimated to take approximately six to eight years to complete. CHOA also has other expansion projects underway throughout the state, including the addition of beds at existing hospitals, new urgent and outpatient clinics and a 260,000-square-foot specialized care facility.
- The fate of the Affordable Care Act will not affect CHOA's ability to finance the new hospital, Georgia Health News reported, because the Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (Georgia's PeachCare) is a separate initiative.
In a similar project, the Massachusetts Public Health Council unanimously approved an expansion of Boston Children's Hospital, also valued at $1 billion, in October. Local activists made an appeal to the council to deny Boston Children's plans on the grounds that additional patients would increase the overall price tag for medical care, but hospital officials said that those they expected to serve would come from out of the area and that state taxpayers would not have to absorb the cost. Some opponents also opposed the destruction of a hospital garden, which will have to be destroyed to make way for a new high-rise.
Hospital construction has been trending toward smaller facilities, making these massive projects a little out of the norm. One of the reasons for this shift is that the ACA's goals — and payoffs for doctors — are tied to the overall health of patients and require more up-close monitoring that one, large regional facility can provide. In addition, millennials that have grown up with an appreciation for convenience are demanding that healthcare be accessible and simplified, driving the proliferation of smaller clinics and retail pharmacy healthcare services in stores like CVS and Walgreen's.
Builders in the healthcare space are now waiting, however, to see how the ACA will fare under President Donald Trump's administration. A repeal and replacement of the ACA was a core component of his campaign, and his first executive order — signed on the day of his inauguration — was an appeal to federal agencies to reduce the burden of the ACA's provisions on taxpayers. However, Republican lawmakers have not yet offered up a replacement for the current system.