- Massachusetts General Hospital is planning a $1 billion addition to its campus in downtown Boston, The Boston Globe reports.
- The proposed construction — thought to be the largest ever undertaken by a hospital in the state — includes two connected 12-story towers with private patient rooms, a cardiac center, cancer center, operating rooms and other clinical space.
- The entire project will add 1 million square feet and allow Mass General to treat an additional 100 to 200 patients. The project, which requires local and state approvals, is expected to take seven years to complete, putting the grand opening in 2026.
The project comes as many hospitals are scaling back on construction projects in the face of financial headwinds. Fewer inpatients, lower reimbursements and rising labor and operating costs are hitting hospitals and health systems where it hurts, and not just earnings but credit ratings have suffered.
A 2018 Health Facilities Management survey indicated that renovations rather than new construction are a continuing hospital trend, as well as the construction of more outpatient than inpatient facilities. For instance, New York City Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Hospital is underway with a $738 million renovation and expansion in Brooklyn.
This is the second $1 billion expansion for a Boston hospital announced in the past few years. The $1.2 billion Boston Children’s Hospital expansion, which is underway now, had to overcome opposition from some groups that were concerned that the capital project would drive up the costs of services at the hospital and that also objected to the demolition of an existing garden used by patients and their families.
A recent Fitch Ratings report showed a mixed bag for not-for-profit hospitals and health systems in the 2018 third quarter, with 11 security rating upgrades and 11 downgrades. Among the downgrades were Dignity Health and MedStar Health, which each slipped from A to A-.
Amid these concerns and uncertainty about the economy generally, some hospital projects that are planned are facing greater scrutiny over concerns the costs could be passed onto patients and consumers. Mass. General was prepared to file preliminary plans for its twin towers project with the city of Boston this week, according to the Globe.
Still, hospitals are moving ahead with construction to meet patient demand and stay competitive.
Mayo Clinic currently has about $1.6 billion tied up in various construction and expansion projects spanning the next three to five years. The projects include about $908 million for construction related to patient care, research and education, as well as a $648 million expansion of its Phoenix campus. The five-year Arizona project will add new clinical space, support services and infrastructure, plus 2,000 new jobs, including 200 physicians.
BJC Healthcare opened a 12-story inpatient tower and St. Louis Children's Hospital expansion one year ago, part of a $1 billion transformation to modernize and improve patient care. And Banner Health disclosed in financial reports last summer that it will invest $61.4 million to build three new inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and expand its outpatient business.
Kim Slowey contributed to this report.