Economic Backbone: Hospitals
Baptist Health Care's $650-million Pensacola hospital to open next fall
Baptist Health Care's expansion is on track despite COVID and a hurricane
In a recent interview with FLORIDA TREND, Mark Faulkner, president and CEO of Baptist Health Care, talked about BHC’s $650-million hospital and 57-acre campus in Pensacola.
Challenges: “We broke ground on this project a few weeks after Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola hard in 2020 and also while in the midst of a pandemic. And yet we have remained on our original construction schedule for an opening on Sept. 23, 2023.
It’s been my experience in this project and others we’ve undertaken that challenges such as these bring out the best in people, especially high performers. And I think the challenges we’ve faced during the past two years have made us a better organization and, in a way, helped to re-create ourselves to better serve a rapidly evolving community.”
Changes: “Our original plan was to leave the top floor unfinished until our patient growth reached a point where we would need those additional beds. At the time we were projecting a modest annual patient growth of 2.5%. But what we have experienced since then is patient growth far exceeding those projections. We realized we faced the risk of moving into a new hospital facility that would be already very full.
Fortunately, we were not too far into the project to make the call to move forward with finishing the construction of the 10th floor that will give us additional general medical surgical beds.”
Future: “We’re working with Pensacola-based Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate to develop a medical office building on our new campus. It would be essentially a master lease where we own the property and Catalyst would construct the building. Catalyst CEO Chad Henderson is surveying the market to see what the future demand is for new office medical space in Pensacola. We don’t know how it’s going to end up looking, whether it’s going to be a larger or smaller project, but we should know pretty soon what his analysis is.”