University of Colorado Health is bucking the recent trend away from new hospital construction projects, with plans to build an acute-care hospital in Longmont, Colo. Construction costs for the new facility will be between $100 million and $125 million.
“For us to truly deliver population health management, we need to make sure that we have facilities and medical practices that are focused on population health throughout the entire front range of Colorado,” said Dan Robinson, CEO of UCHealth's medical group and a leader on the hospital project.
Longmont residents have been traveling north for care to other UC facilities or as far as 30 miles south to UC Hospital in the Denver area, said Robinson. The new hospital fills a geographic void for UCHealth, allowing patients to be treated in their own community, he said.
Longmont United Hospital, currently the only hospital in the city, has 146 staffed beds.
The academic health system already owns the Longmont Clinic, a large medical group located in the city. The system wants to ensure it's able to support those physicians with a facility that can better manage patients in the region, Robinson said.
The new facility will include 50 to 75 inpatient beds, an intensive care unit, operating rooms and an emergency department, according to a release. The facility also will include a birth center and advanced cardiology services.
UCHealth expects to break ground on the hospital this year, with a projected opening in late 2016 or early 2017.
A shift toward outpatient care has meant fewer and smaller construction projects in the healthcare industry in recent years. A Modern Healthcare analysis earlier this year found 113 acute-care hospitals were built in 2014, while 222 acute-care facilities underwent expansion projects.
Hospital construction is experiencing only "slow but steady growth," said 63% of healthcare construction leaders in the most recent Modern Healthcare construction survey. Also, 22% of those surveyed said the biggest opportunities for growth are in inpatient acute care.