March 26, 2019

Economic Backbone

Hospital leaders in Florida take on the competition

Amy Martinez | 11/28/2017

New Solutions

Mayo’s expansion will double its research and patient space in Jacksonville.

Shortly after Dr. Gianrico Farrugia became CEO of Mayo Clinic’s Florida operations in 2015, the health system announced a partnership with a biotech company to bring a new lung restoration center to Jacksonville.

The announcement marked the beginning of a multi-year, multi-phase plan to position Mayo as a medical destination for the southeastern U.S. In all, Mayo plans to spend more than $300 million to expand its Jacksonville campus during the next five years. When completed, the projects will nearly double the space Mayo has for patient care and research in Florida.

“There’s an increasing population with an increasing number of serious and complex medical needs,” Farrugia says. “We need to come up with new ways of taking care of them.”

Three years ago, Farrugia came to Florida from Rochester, Minn., where he had been a gastroenterologist and professor of physiology and biomedical engineering with Mayo for more than two decades.

In addition to the campus expansion, Farrugia will steer Mayo through a transition to a new electronic medical record system in 2018. “We’ve been planning it for three years. We think we’re well-prepared,” he says.

Mayo’s Jacksonville Projects

  • In 2015, Mayo partnered with Maryland- based United Therapeutics, which has developed a technology to restore damaged donor lungs so that they’re acceptable for transplant. Mayo is now building a 75,000-sq.-ft. lung restoration center to significantly increase the number of lungs available to transplant patients nationwide. Construction is to be completed in 2019.
  • In 2016, Mayo unveiled plans for a four-story, 150,000-sq.-ft. medical building with the potential to rise 11 more stories. The building will specialize in complex cancer, neurologic and neurosurgical care. Another facility, also announced last year, will house a radiochemistry lab and cyclotron — a particle accelerator used to produce radiopharmaceuticals for medical imaging. Mayoproduced choline C-11 will be used to “light up” cancer cells to detect prostate cancer during PET scans. Both buildings are to open in 2018.
  • This year, Mayo began a $70.5-million expansion and renovation of two buildings. The project, to be completed in 2019, will provide space for cardiovascular, cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery; a larger spine center and pain rehabilitation programs; more labs; and a molecular imaging center for radiology.
  • Mayo’s $300-million capital plan includes more work on existing buildings and a third research building.
  • Mayo’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, jointly based at campuses in Jacksonville and Rochester, conducts research and education programs related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and also provides services and care for patients.

The Legal Side

Attorney Maria Currier, a partner in the Miami office of Holland & Knight, says physician CEOs are becoming more common in hospitals. While financial expertise is critical, it’s not enough to succeed in today’s health care environment, says Currier, co-leader of the firm’s health care and life sciences practice group. Currier herself is a former nurse. “I think the ability to organize a team around the clinical aspects of health care delivery is more important than it has ever been,” she says.

Effective CEOs of the future must understand “how care is delivered, why it should be delivered in certain settings, who should be handling the care and how to measure performance. The more efficient and effective your clinical care is, the better your opportunity for financial reward will be,” she says.

“In order to remain financially viable, you’re going to have to be able to understand the clinical implications of every dollar you spend.”


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