The sight of construction equipment and moving dirt is nothing new to Horizon West. As one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation, the region of west Orange County has exploded with new homes, new schools and new roads.
And now, at long last, it also has its new hospital.
Orlando Health celebrated its new Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion – Horizon West with a dedication ceremony Sept. 25.
Located at 17000 Porter Road, near State Road 429 and New Independence Parkway, the new hospital is a product of a partnership between Orlando Health and the West Orange Healthcare District.
The district contributed $29 million toward the first phase of the project, which cost a total of about $37 million, said Tracy Swanson, the executive director of the West Orange Healthcare District.
The first phase includes a two-story 78,000-square-foot freestanding emergency department and a medical pavilion with 16 ER patient rooms on the first floor and medical office space on the second floor.
The project’s second phase will include a six-story, 214,000-square-foot hospital with 103 inpatient beds, an onsite laboratory, outpatient imaging service center, and primary and specialty physician offices, according to a press release from Orlando Health.
Construction of the medical office space on the second floor of the free-standing ER will be for primary care physicians and specialists, but construction is still underway and expected to be completed by January 2019, said Desmond Jordon, the media relations manager at Orlando Health. There is no set timeline for phase two construction just yet, he said.
The emergency department on the ground floor is nearly operational and begin accepting patients the week of Oct. 1, he added.
Mark Marsh, President of Orlando Health's Health Central Hospital, said the first and second phase of the project is just the beginning, and he expects the facility will expand its programs and services in the years to come.
“We have about 80 acres down there, so this ER space and the physician space is really just the first phase to get us started,” he said. “We anticipate having a hospital on the campus there as well as our medical office building space. ... But I think as Central Florida continues to grow, people will want to have all kind of health care options close to home, so I think we're going to continue to expand the types of services that we offer.”
PREVENTION IS KEY
This new facility also will have a Human Performance and Wellness Center geared toward helping West Orange residents pursue a healthier lifestyle that hopefully keeps them from developing preventable diseases, Marsh said.
“The Human Performance and Wellness Center is a collaborative approach with the West Orange Healthcare District,” he said. “They were a big partner in helping us facilitate (the building) of the facility down here. ... We want to not only focus on post or acute care – we really want to do preventative medicine. We have a whole group of dieticians and various types of (professionals), and our (goal) is to see West Orange become a very healthy, vibrant community. So this is one of the things we could do on the preventative side to make sure patients are caring for themselves.”
Marsh added the center will employ nutritional counselors who help patients improve their eating and exercise habits and offer residents programs and assistance in their goal to live a healthier lifestyle so they don't have to visit the ER frequently.
A HEALTHIER WEST ORANGE
The wellness center also reflects the goals behind the Healthy West Orange initiative spearheaded by the healthcare district, which contributed funding for the new cancer center and memory-care facility that recently opened at Orlando Health’s Health Central Hospital in Ocoee.
“The role that the district has played is in expediting access to quality, state-of-the-art care within the region,” said Tracy Swanson, executive director of the district. “So we work with Orlando Health developing facilities such as the emergency room and the medical pavilion coming to Horizon West.”
Swanson said the district partnered with Orlando Health in 2010 and is proud to have helped make all these projects a reality.
“The vision of seeing these projects come to fruition is exactly what the trustees had hoped to see, and it's even more exciting to see that we are gaining momentum with Healthy West Orange in terms of seeing so many collaborators in the community coming together to support our goal of becoming the healthiest community in the nation,” Swanson said.
In addition to the Horizon West facility, the two entities have worked to expand the existing Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital in Ocoee with the $28 million, 30,000-square-foot Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center, which opened in August, and a 100-bed skilled nursing facility.