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Local, Flexible & Innovative - Summit Explores Evolving South FL Healthcare Facilities Needs

Published on 3/21/2019

Maybe it’s no surprise that South Florida’s demand for healthcare are only increasing. After all, people over 65 make up a fifthof the state’s population and growing. However, to keep up with the fast pace of medical demand—and the high costs of local real estate—Florida’s healthcare facility footprint may need to evolve.

That was one of the takeaway messages from the South Florida Hospitals, Outpatients Facilities & Medical Office Buildings Summit March 6 in Miami. The event was co-sponsored by AMFP and, and included expert insight from leaders at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center/University of Miami Health System, Baptist Health Enterprises, CBRE Healthcare Advisory, Rendina Healthcare Real Estate, the Facility Guidelines Institute and LEO A DALY.

High demand is pushing local health systems to new limits. While the U.S. average is 282 annual physician visits per 100 people, in Florida it is 341.2 visits, explained B. Alan Whitson, RPA, President, Corporate Realty Design & Management Institute. A University of Florida population forecast projects a 31.6% increase in doctor visits from 2020 to 2045. Whitson said that the state will need an estimated 1.4 to 2.6 million square feet of additional outpatient facilities to accommodate this volume.

But what will those future environments look like? How might those facilities change if, as Whitson predicted, 30% of today’s hospital space will be functionally obsolete in the future?

For starters, noted Carol Ellis-Cutler, first vice president, Advisory and Transaction Services of CBRE, South Florida has seen an increase in care closer to neighborhoods. Kathleen Moorman, corporate vice president, Corporate Real Estate, for Baptist Health Enterprises, elaborated that outpatient services remain the source of most growth, with demand growing for services ranging from imaging centers to standalone emergency rooms.

Ellis-Cutler added that a CBRE survey of healthcare investors and developers found demand for wellness centers at the top of the list. Demand was lower for long-term acute healthcare facilities. However, if Florida repeals its Certificate of Need requirements—an increasingly likely possibility—the state could see a number of “micro hospitals” pop up, predicted Richard Rendina, chairman and CEO of Rendina Healthcare Real Estate.

Locating new projects is another challenge in South Florida, however. Demand for multifamily and condo projects in the area has driven up land prices, making it difficult to develop new medical office facilities, Rendina said. For that reason, redevelopment in sites such as retail malls remains popular. In addition, Moorman proposed that care on demand solutions such as telehealth may be a cost-effective solution for serving patients in high-priced real estate markets like Miami’s urban core.

The design of these facilities is evolving as well. For example, Whitson pointed out that most patients over 65 don’t come alone on their healthcare visits, and this must influence facility design factors.

All panelists at the event agreed flexibility will be key for future designs. For example, Ben Riestra, chief ambulatory operations executive and chief administrative officer of The Lennar Foundation Medical Center at UHealth, the University of Miami Health System, proposed planning no further out than 5 to 7 years.

Eduardo Egea, managing principal, LEO A DALY, cautioned health systems not to shy away from innovation. Flexibility is crucial for maximizing a space’s possibility, but imagining future possibilities informs good design. As Egea put it, if Amazon can deliver a salad from Whole Foods to a patient room, maybe you should consider a drone port as a patient-pleasing feature in a future facility.

For more key takeaways from all of the experts featured, visit:

B. Alan Whitson, RPA, President, Corporate Realty Design & Management Institute

Carol Ellis-Cutler, First Vice President, Advisory and Transaction Services, CBRE

Kathleen Moorman, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Real Estate, Baptist Health Enterprises

Richard M. Rendina, Chairman and CEO, Rendina Healthcare Real Estate

Ben Riestra, Chief Ambulatory Operations Executive and Chief Administrative Officer of The Lennar Foundation Medical Center at UHealth, the University of Miami Health System

Eduardo Egea, Managing Principal, LEO A DALY