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Micro-hospitals are meeting the needs of rapidly growing urban and selected rural areas

By: Joe Middleton, MPA, CFM

Joe Middleton Headshot

Shifting demographics, market consolidation and expansion, and pressure to manage expense and maximize capital investment. These are a few of the drivers that have helped create the micro-hospital concept. In reality, it’s an adaptation of critical access hospitals with right sized programs and physical plants. As smaller “right-sized” acute care facilities, micro-hospitals fill service gaps that exist between outpatient centers and traditional acute care hospitals.

Micro-hospitals are typically comprised of an emergency department, acute care beds, laboratory, imaging, and pharmacy. Clinical and ancillary services are added to meet patient needs and demand. The selection of services can significantly improve market flexibility, long term stability, and sustainability of the facility.

Micro-hospitals range from a few thousand square feet in size to 60,000 SF. In some applications, additional services such as medical offices increase the footprint. All applications require considerable planning to ensure the clinical program is responsive to the needs of the community and the health system, and are flexible to address changing technology and demographics.

Cost and speed to market are two advantages of micro-hospitals. Total project cost may be less, but cost per square foot is not always lower. When the team integrates work flow and patient care delivery processes into the design significant improvements in patient satisfaction and cost efficiency can be attained. Your construction management partner can be effective in the management of construction costs and can offer input regarding cost of construction throughout the planning and design process.

The construction time is similar to outpatient centers of similar size and complexity. The clear advantage is speed to market; being the first to deliver comprehensive services and gain market share. Similarly, aging acute care facilities that have become members of a larger integrated system can be quickly replaced to achieve a better match of services and clinical need as well as lower operating costs.

Micro-hospitals are an excellent opportunity to apply LEAN design, LEAN construction, and LEAN healthcare. Your construction management partner can provide invaluable advice for site selection, estimating, project delivery methods, and construction cost management. Significant benefits may be realized by engagement of the construction team early in the design process.

Welliver understands the value of micro-hospitals and stands ready to assist you as a partner in the planning and development of effective solutions for you.

A Certified Facilities Manager (CFM), Joe Middleton brings nearly 35 years of extensive operational, planning, and capital development expertise in healthcare. He has provided leadership for capital development, engineering, and support operations for more than 4M square feet of multi-campus facilities in healthcare, research, and commercial enterprises. In addition, he has led and managed over $1 billion in healthcare construction and renovation projects.