- Construction will get underway Thursday on a new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and ambulatory center, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.
- The 800,000-square-foot facility with 316 private rooms will be adjacent to the current hospital and include a nine-story tower and three-story ambulatory center joined by a common space with cafeteria and other amenities.
- Completion of the capital project, estimated at $550 million, is projected for September 2020.
Saint Louis acquired the hospital in 2015 and then contributed it to SSM Health in a separate transaction. The purchase fulfilled the Catholic not-for-profit’s goal of adding an academic medical center to its 19-hospital network. The acquisition let SSM compete directly with BJC Healthcare, which owns Barnes-Jewish Hospital, another St. Louis academic medical center.
Last month, SSM inked an agreement to purchase a health system and clinic from Wisconsin-based Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes for an undisclosed sum. The deal will give SSM control of Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac and Monroe Clinic in Monroe.
Catholic-sponsored CSA cited changes in Wisconsin’s payer and provider markets combined with changing demographics in its decision to sell the hospitals.
St. Louis-based SSM operates 20 hospitals in four Midwestern states, including three hospitals in south central Wisconsin.
Uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act has not stopped hospitals from pursuing capital projects. In March, the Mayo Clinic announced a $217 million expansion and modernization project at its Saint Mary’s campus in Rochester, Minn., to meet growing demand and shifting patient needs. The Clinic is also investing $70 million in building efforts at its Mankato, Minn., hospital and $70.5 million at its Jacksonville, Fla., medical campus.
Passage of the ACA in 2010 emboldened hospitals to step up capital spending as the direction of health policy changes became clearer. According to a 2015 Fitch Ratings report, the share of health systems planning to increase capital spending jumped from 45% in 2012 to 53% in 2015. However, Congress’ indecision over whether to repeal and replace or keep and fix the ACA, and what any changes in policy could mean for hospitals, could cause some to forego major spending campaigns in the near term.