Boca Regional to add Outpatient Clinic to Deerfield Presence
When Boca Raton Regional Hospital broke ground on a new outpatient clinic in Deerfield Beach in December, the 400-bed regional hospital was the latest to fall into step with a national trend for hospitals. From Stanford, Conn. to South Africa, hospitals are decentralizing medical care and bringing it to their consumers, instead of waiting for consumers to come to them.
“This just reflects the industry trend of movement of hospital-based services into the outpatient setting,” explained Thomas Chakurda, Boca hospital’s vp of marketing, of the 25,000 square-foot facility adjacent to the front of Super Target. “We re looking to extend our services beyond the city of Boca Raton and areas immediately adjacent.”
The Ambulatory Care Center serving Deerfield Beach does just that. With a staff of between 25 and 30 nurses, doctors and technicians, the center is a fraction of the size of the 800-doctor regional hospital. But it’s location on the northeast corner of Hillsboro Boulevard and Powerline Road puts it right in the heart of the population it serves – a community-bus ride away from Century Village, and just west of the hospital’s outpatient women’s clinic.
The dentralization of services is a reversal of the trend of the last century. As more and more people were covered by health insurance in the 1900’s, hospitals became a growth industry, offering the latest technology and luxury stays, according to a Business Week article in 1994. In the 1970s, however, insurance companies began limiting reimbursements. Fewer admissions cut revenue to hospitals. Fixed costs like cafeteria services, labs and janitorial staff, however, stayed the same and, in Business Week example of the hospital in Connecticut , the hospital stayed open by decentralizing treatment to outpatient centers, thereby cutting staff, supply costs and overhead.
That trend is accelerating, Chakurda said. “You are seeing it through the industry where hospitals are extending beyond the walls of their main hospital. The move to outpatient is very vigorous,” he explained. “If you don’t do it, you are going to be left behind.”
For Deerfield Beach residents, the new center means primary care, urgent care, radiology and elements of the hospital’s state-of-the-art breast care program right here in Deerfield Beach.
For the hospital, it means Century Village just across the street which, in 2009, reported that the median age of its 17,000 residents was 80. A Century Village bus already stops at the Target plaza.
Says Chakurda, “We are extending it – and providing services in a convenient and accessible manner in the Deerfield area.”
As early as next fall.