- Ochsner Health System announced Thursday that it is planning a $100 million expansion of its Baton Rouge, LA, medical facilities, according to The Times-Picayune.
- Ochsner will construct a five-story medical office building — including lab, pharmacy and diagnostic services — that is expected to serve 85 health care providers. The health system's plans also include a 10-bed microhospital and a surgical center next door to the office building.
- The company said this project reflects an industry shift toward more outpatient services instead of in-hospital stays. The facilities themselves are expected to generate 450 jobs over the next four years and 1,630 temporary jobs during construction.
According to a 2016 hospital construction survey by Health Facilities Management, the number of outpatient facilities increased when compared to 2015, and HFM expected that growth to last, with respondents indicating they had more medical office or ambulatory care projects planned for the next three years.
This push for more convenient medical options, however, got a significant boost from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, enacted under the guidance of the Obama administration. Thus far, President Donald Trump has not yet been able to make good on his "repeal and replace" campaign promise regarding the ACA, so it's up in the air as to how long the push toward the smaller and outpatient-focused facilities will continue.
Another factor in the evolving healthcare market is the millennial generation, which wants its medical care on-demand and convenient. In fact, Cindy Juhas, chief strategy officer for medical equipment company CME, told Construction Dive in October that healthcare-related companies were responding to this demand by coming up with more at-home tests and other more convenient options to keep that demographic healthy.
Other health systems across the U.S. are beefing up their convenience factors as well. Skanska USA recently broke ground on a $349 million Inspira facility in New Jersey, and that new medical center will provide outpatient care.
The Virtua Health System is also planning outpatient services and an ambulatory surgical center as part of its new $1 billion hospital complex, also in New Jersey. The hospital is a replacement for Virtua's existing facility a few miles away.