BayCare Health Systems is pushing forward in its quest to open a new hospital in Wesley Chapel, despite a challenge filed by AdventHealth’s hospitals in Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills and Dade City.
Speaking on BayCare’s behalf, Todd Jones recently outlined the health care system’s plans for a 60-bed hospital that would be built on a 111-acre site at the northeast quadrant of Interstate 75 and Overpass Road.
He shared BayCare’s vision for the hospital with about 120 businessmen and businesswomen at the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast, at Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel.
BayCare wants to put a new hospital along the I-75 corridor because of the dramatic population growth, and an increased demand for health services, said Jones, who is vice president of ambulatory experience and operations for BayCare Health System.
“Anytime you have population growth, there is going to be an increased demand for health services,” he said.
“We want to recruit new primary care and specialty providers to the community.
“One of things that’s frustrating for patients — and this is the thing that affects your health — is when you can’t gain access to the care that you need in some way.”
Beyond recruiting the professionals to work at the hospital, there will be a ripple effect — with providers opening up offices nearby, Jones predicted.
BayCare also wants to provide additional services that would not be based at the hospital, Jones added.
BayCare also plans to do community outreach, and to provide wellness and education activities, Jones said.
It plans to partner with education providers to help provide a path forward for both high school and college students, Jones added.
The construction of the hospital is expected to create 300 jobs, and once it becomes fully operational, BayCare anticipates needing about 300 team members, Jones said.
The proposed services at the hospital include:
- Emergency services for adults and children
- Intensive care unit
- Obstetrical care services
- Diagnostic lab imaging
- Physical rehabilitation
- Behavioral support services
Jones told the audience, people often want to know: “What’s it going to look like? How’s it going to function?”
It will be similar in appearance to BayCare’s St. Joseph’s Hospital-South, which opened in Riverview in 2015. That hospital used the template from St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, which opened in Lutz in 2010.
“We will use the same architects,” Jones said, using whatever was learned during the St. Joseph’s Hospital-South project, much like that project used what was learned at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North.
“The goal is, you always want to improve upon yourself,” he said.
It typically takes about three years from the time a hospital is approved, until the physical structure is operating.
The hospital has received preliminary approval from the state for a Certificate of Need, but that has been challenged, so the process will take some time to work through.
BayCare has received word that a hearing is scheduled Aug. 13 through Aug. 22, according to Tiffany Scalone, media relations coordinator for St. Joseph’s Hospitals.
Jones told the North Tampa Bay Chamber crowd: “We will work through the process for the Certificate of Need. We anticipate it will be resolved by October.”
BayCare understands the value of the state Certificate of Need process, Jones said, noting it is intended “to protect the community, so that you don’t overbuild services and you do something the community actually can afford.
“We support that process. We feel like it challenges us to make sure that all of the things that we thought through actually do support the community,” Jones said.
Beyond its plans for the hospital, BayCare also anticipates bringing in some other services.
“We feel like we can get to the community faster with some of the diagnostic services that are needed in the community,” he said. “We’re looking at another location for our outpatient services. Right now, the things that we have identified immediately are around laboratory and imaging, and also urgent care.”
Licia Tavalaiccio, a real estate broker who lives in the area, said she’s excited about the prospect of the hospital coming into the area.
But, she noted: “My concern is traffic. Do we have a plan?””
Jones said the hospital will reach out in the community to involve them, as the hospital planning progresses.
“We would like you to participate. We want you to have input,” Jones said, noting that community participation also extends to helping to identify the community’s needs.
“We try to provide service for the patients where they need it,” Jones said. “We come to you.”
Published February 13, 2019