Tallahassee (Fla.) Memorial Healthcare has partnered with Baptist Health's Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
The partnership will include the construction of a Wolfson pediatric-care center on the campus of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.
The center, called the Wolfson Children's Specialty Center, will provide pediatric rehabilitation, cardiology and additional specialties to patients in Tallahassee, southwest Georgia and southeastern Alabama. It is expected to open in 2018, according to a news release.
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, which includes a 772-bed acute-care facility, currently offers inpatient pediatric care but does not have an outpatient center. Wolfson will evaluate appropriate pediatric specialties needed in the region to determine what services should be included in the outpatient center.
The move exemplifies a growing trend of providers joining forces to develop regional expansion strategies for children. At a time when health plans are shifting to narrower networks of lower-cost providers, children's hospitals are backing a bill in Congress that would give states the option to establish nationally designated children's hospital networks across state lines to provide care for medically complex conditions.
Wolfson is expanding pediatric cardiology services at Tallahassee Primary Care Associates, a private practice office less than a mile from Tallahassee Memorial's campus.
Wolfson Children's Hospital, a 216-bed facility, has also opened four other specialty-care centers in Florida and Georgia. Tallahassee Memorial serves approximately 250,000 children in the region.
Some observers worry that too many pediatric programs in a local market could create problems for all competing hospitals. They must not only vie for pediatric patients, but also for the limited pool of physicians with advanced pediatric training.