- San Diego-based Scripps Health this week announced a $2.6 billion building initiative that will include all of its five San Diego-area healthcare campuses, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, which is the biggest such undertaking in the system's 125-year history.
- The biggest piece of the project is the $1.3 billion replacement of Scripps Mercy Hospital in the Hillcrest area of San Diego. Other projects include a new patient tower at the system's La Jolla campus; a three-story acute care facility at its Encinitas hospital and seismic upgrades at its campuses in Chula Vista and Torrey Pines, all also near San Diego. The Hillcrest hospital will also see the addition of an oncology center in partnership with Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Scripps said all projects will wrap up by 2030 in time to meet the compliance deadline for the state's new earthquake standard for hospitals. Hospital officials said the bed count will not change significantly from what it is today because more services will be handled on an outpatient basis.
On the other side of the country in Pennsylvania, Highmark Health is getting ready for a five-facility expansion as well. The $700 million undertaking will include construction of a 160-bed healthcare center and four neighborhood micro-hospitals, all in the Pittsburgh area. Each micro-hospital will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, range in size from 15,000 to 60,000 square feet, accommodate 10 to 12 inpatients at a time and feature an emergency department.
Micro-hospitals, according to Healthcare Finance, are growing in popularity because they offer quick service and can be targeted to meet the needs of the communities in which they're built. They're also less expensive and can be built more quickly than a traditional hospital or medical center, even though they offer most of the same services.
These micro-hospitals are also becoming centers for telemedicine. The typical telemedicine setup offers up a team of specialists who consult with patients, diagnose conditions and even prescribe medicine, all via video conferencing.
This emphasis on convenience and small community clinics found its legs with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which rewards health care providers for improvements in patient health. However, providers realized the increased monitoring required to ensure positive patient outcomes would be more successful in a more intimate setting in geographic locations closer to the patient.