By Rachel Christian
Osceola Regional Medical Center broke ground last week on a freestanding emergency room facility in Orlando’s Millennia area.
The building, which will span 10,860 square feet across 1.6 acres includes
11 patient beds, and is expected to open early next year.
This marks the second freestanding ER created by ORMC after a similar venue opened in Hunters Creek about three-and-a-half years ago.
ORMC’s parent company, HCA Healthcare, made the determination to open the freestanding facility, said ORMC Marketing Director Vanessa Guevara.
HCA, which operates 178 hospitals in 20 states, conducted studies to determine areas of Central Florida that would be best served by such a facility, according to Guevara.
“The area near Millennia has lots of traffic and residential growth in recent years,” she said. “It’s also visited by a lot of tourists, and since it’s so close to Interstate 4, it makes it easy to transport patients who may need extended care.”
Two other local HCA-owned hospitals are being constructed in the Central Florida area – one in Baldwin Park and another in Lake Mary. The new undertaking in Millennia reflects a larger national trend of hospitals creating smaller venues to provide faster care and shorter ER wait times, said ORMC Assistant Nursing Officer Trish Price.
“Freestanding ERs have become more common in part because they help offset some of the patient volume for traditional hospitals,” Price said.
Freestanding ERs are also appealing because they may be more accessible than massive medical complexes. By placing compact units in more places, residents can get medical treatment more easily when an emergency occurs, Price said.
Due to its size, the new facility won’t feature in-patient or overnight beds. Instead, a patient will be transported to ORMC or another local hospital to receive longer-term care after he or she has been stabilized at the freestanding ER, Price explained.
The new $10 million facility isn’t a glorified urgent care center, though. The building is set to feature a dedicated trauma room, 24-hour labratory and imaging capabilities as well as an EMS bay to accommodate incoming ambulance arrivals.
ORMC is anticipating hiring 50 new emergency-certified physicians and staff members for the facility, according to a company release.