The new hospital is expected to generate about 400 new jobs in the near term, and ultimately about 700.
Palm Coast's new hospital will have 100 beds spread over a 155,000, four-story building between east- and westbound Palm Coast Parkway and between Pine Lakes Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway, and will start with about 400 new jobs and ultimately generate about 700, AdventHealth Palm Coast Chief Operating Officer Wally De Aquino told the Palm Coast planning board April 21.
The proposed master planned development rezoning and master site plan for the new hospital received a 7-0 vote of support from the Planning and Land Development Regulation Board, which will recommend that the City Council approve it.
An adjacent office building to be completed in a second phase of construction would be two stories and 30,000 square feet.
Construction on the new hospital is expected to begin in September and cost $100 million, according to an AdventHealh news release.
The new hospital, called AdventHealth Palm Coast Parkway, is AdventHealth's second in Palm Coast, and is one of two potential major medical facilities in the Palm Coast Parkway area: Another hospital by an undisclosed company has been proposed for the west side of U.S. 1 at its intersection with Palm Coast Parkway.
The 69.5-foot-tall new AdventHealth hospital would sit on an 11-acre site, with patient parking in the northeast and employee parking behind the O'Reilly Auto Parts property in the northwest.
"It will provide emergency medical services substantially closer to central and north Palm Coast residents and be a major generator of well-paying jobs."
— BILL HOOVER, Palm Coast senior planner
At 11 acres, the new hospital site will be much more compact than the approximately 95-acre existing AdventHealth site on State Road 100, but will have about the same number of beds.
A heliport would be constructed on the hospital's east side to airlift patients from the hospital to a trauma center, if needed, because the proposed hospital will not have one.
Aside from its emergency room, the new hospital will offer cardiology, surgery, orthopedic services and inpatient rehab, while the medical office building will offer outpatient rehab.
The emergency room will have 20 ICU rooms, plus another 20 that could be converted into ICU rooms if there's another pandemic, De Aquino told planning board members.
"Thankfully, we have done the already in this [State Road 100] facility, so the other facility will be able to provide an additional 40 turnkey ICU rooms if there’s a need in the future," he said.
Planning board member Sandra Shank asked if the new hospital will offer pediatrics and obstetrics, which aren't offered at the current hospital on S.R. 100.
De Aquino said it will not.
The new hospital is one of two potential new major medical facilities in the Palm Coast Parkway area: Another has been proposed for the west side of U.S. 1 at its intersection with Palm Coast Parkway.
In 2020, he said, there were 825 births attributed to Flagler County. New mothers can go to Daytona and St. Augustine for delivery, and if AdventHealth offered an obstetrics center, it would capture maybe 50% or 60% of the market.
"So, we estimate that if we were to open a birth center today, we would have less than two births per day coming to our facility," he said. "... It would be impossible to recruit skilled physicians that would be willing to come to a facility where they can only deliver one or two babies a day, if that. And then nurses also require training, and for that they need to acquire 'X' amount of deliveries so they can continue to keep their proficiencies in gear."
In terms of pediatric care, he said, there's not enough demand. The vast majority of pediatric care is outpatient, De Aquino said, and over the last 12 months, the AdventHealth Palm Coast location on S.R. 100 had 2,500 pediatric visits. Only 85 required transfer to another facility, and not all of those were for inpatient care.
Hospital leadership often also fields questions about a trauma center, De Aquino said, but that designation is conferred by the state after a hospital meets a number of conditions. AdventHealth contracted with a consulting company in 2018 to see if it was getting close, but it's not. The only trauma center in the region for now is Halifax Hospital, he said.
City planning staff found the proposed facility's master site plan in compliance with city requirements.
The hospital will be located abut 300 feet from the nearest duplex home to the north and about 500 feet from the nearest single-family home to the south, with Palm Coast Parkway and a wooded canal providing a buffer, said Palm Coast Senior Planner Bill Hoover.
"By developing an infill property with a common architectural theme, it will provide emergency medical services substantially closer to central and north Palm Coast residents and be a major generator of well-paying jobs," Hoover said. "... When you locate on an infill parcel that’s been passed over a lot, that’s a major plus as far as land-planning."
The Palm Coast City Council will hear the proposal next.