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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 4 years ago

Florida Hospital plans expansion for Winter Garden campus

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If given state approval, Florida Hospital will expand its Winter Garden campus with a seven-story inpatient tower, in addition to an already-approved second medical office building.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

 There still are big plans in the works for the Florida Hospital Winter Garden campus, which opened Feb. 15 off State Road 429 near Daniels Road. 

With the goal of offering West Orange residents the option to stay close to home while receiving inpatient services from Florida Hospital, the medical institution submitted a letter of intent to the state to apply for a certificate of need to build a seven-story inpatient tower.  

The 97,000-square-foot Winter Garden location is Florida Hospital’s ninth campus in Central Florida. It currently has an emergency department with 19 beds, a clinical decision unit, outpatient lab, outpatient imaging and several physician offices. 

The hospital tower would be constructed in addition to a second medical office building approved as part of the master plan by the city of Winter Garden in December 2012. Officials already have secured funding for the three-story second medical office building, which will be located adjacent to the main building. It will be 75,000 square feet, and construction is slated to begin sometime between January and March 2017. 

The construction process is anticipated to take 12 to 14 months. The hospital has a need for a second office building to provide offices for all their physician staff, as well provide patients access to more outpatient services, such as comprehensive women’s and children’s services. 

“As our facility continues to grow, there is a significant desire from physicians to be able to to have offices to stay close to the hospital,” said Amanda Maggard, the administrator of the Winter Garden campus. “And we’re at a point where we’re at capacity or going to be at capacity here in the near future, and so this would allow us to have more space available for physicians.”

Phase two of the construction process, which is pending approval from the state, is the proposed seven-story inpatient hospital tower. If authorized by the state in December, the hospital will begin construction sometime between July and September 2017. The expected opening is mid- to late-2019.

“All along, we’ve kind of said, you know, depending on the need and the growth of the community, then we would explore that next phase with the inpatient beds,” Maggard said. “Based on the patient volume they’ve seen since they opened, and the tremendous amount of growth they’ve seen happening in West Orange County, we’ve gone ahead and taken that next formal step with the state to request their approval.”

The tower would be connected to the current building and located directly behind it. Although they hope to reserve a couple of floors for future growth, the hospital also intends to add 100 inpatient beds, a critical-care unit, an on-site intensive care unit, an inpatient surgical fleet and a diagnostic catheterization laboratory, in addition to support and ancillary services needed to run the hospital. 

Officials also plan to expand the clinical decision unit from the current eight beds to 20 beds. The decision to expand comes from the expected future growth in West Orange. Before the hospital opened the facility in February, officials counted 40,000 patients from the West Orange community who used Florida Hospital for their medical needs, Maggard said. 

The tower also would quell some concerns regarding helicopter noise produced when flying critical patients out to other facilities. The on-site intensive care unit in the proposed tower, Maggard expects, would significantly reduce the number of helicopter flights from the facility. 

“(The inpatient tower) also would enable us to provide better clinical care, and more efficient clinical care,” she said. “Today, when a patient comes to our emergency department, if they require inpatient admission, we do have to transfer them outside of the community for that care. And our goal would be to be able to keep those patients here close to home and care for them here in Winter Garden.”

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Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].

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