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Healthcare Sector Heating Up Throughout South Florida

Albert E. Dotson, Jr.
The University of Miami just announced plans to build a 200,000 square foot medical facility at its main campus in Coral Gables. Currently, many of UM’s medical facilities are concentrated in Miami’s Health District, where the Miller School of Medicine is located. Once completed, physicians from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, currently working in the Health District, will relocate to the new Coral Gables facility. Other services to be offered include urgent care, outpatient surgery, physical therapy and diagnostic imaging. UM reportedly planned to build the new ambulatory care center earlier, but delayed moving forward with the project due to the recession. The new facility will bring UM’s healthcare offerings into competition with several Baptist Health South Florida hospitals and the Larkin Community Hospital.

Renovation and Expansion Plans Underway for Existing Healthcare Facilities
UM’s planned facility is just the latest in a string of planned new facilities, and expansions and renovations of existing healthcare centers in South Florida. In Broward County, Memorial Health Care is seeking approval from the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners to undertake $7.2 million in renovations to its outpatient rehabilitation centers and the high-risk unit at the Family Birthplace at Memorial Regional.

Meanwhile, Baptist Health South Florida plans an ambitious $100 million building and program expansion of its Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami. With the support of Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, Baptist Health is planning a 60,000 square foot addition and a 40,000 square foot renovation of the facility. Branson recently attended a $5,000-seat fundraiser to support the project and donated the highlight of the live auction – a seat on Virgin Galactic’s premier flight to the upper edges of the atmosphere. The winning bid on the seat raised $300,000 for the project. Branson’s largess was reportedly motivated by the cardiovascular treatment Baptist Health doctors performed on Branson’s wife when she developed a life-threatening blood clot. The new facility will house new programs, including a National Center for Aneurysm Therapy, a Center for Advanced Endovascular Therapy, and a Center for Structural Heart Therapy.

Baptist Health is also pursuing an alliance, possibly including a merger, with Bethesda Health, a hospital network in Palm Beach County. Executives from the two non-profit companies indicate that they are motivated by changes in the industry flowing from the Affordable Care Act, including anticipated consolidation in the healthcare industry.
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