St. David’s HealthCare Investing in Central Texas Healthcare Infrastructure

It will be a busy couple of years for the Austin-based healthcare services provider.
David Huffstutler, St. David's HealthCare

David Huffstutler, St. David’s HealthCare

Austin, TexasSt. David’s HealthCare is investing more than $275 million in Central Texas’ healthcare infrastructure over the next two years, acquiring a newly constructed hospital in North Austin for $115 million; developing a $20 million new hospital in Leander; and planning both a $70 million expansion at St. David’s Medical Center and a $50 million expansion at its South Austin Medical Center.

“This is really about St. David’s HealthCare being able to meet the demands for growth in health care services in this community,” David Huffstutler, St. David’s HealthCare president & CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “This is the fastest-growing community in the fastest-growing state in the country; 157 people a day moved here last year.”

What most people don’t realize, Huffstutler noted, is that the fastest-growing segment of the population is the Medicare-aged population, which tends to utilize more health care services than other segments.

“We’re reaching or about to exceed capacity in a number of areas in the market so it made sense for us to try and develop these projects and bring them together at one time, to try and stay ahead of that growth as much as we can,” Huffstutler said.

Forest Park, the new hospital in North Austin sits on 8.5 acres and was originally designed as a specialty surgery hospital. It includes a 146,381-square-foot hospital, an adjacent 80,000-square-foot medical office building and offers a 500-space parking garage. St. David’s will spend $20 million on new technology and furnishings at the site.

“It has never been opened or made operational and we will furnish it, equip it and hope to open it within the next 4-6 months,” Huffstutler said. “It’s a 40-bed facility with 10 operating rooms and six intensive care units, and we will use it primarily as a specialty surgery hospital. It is very near our North Austin Medical Center campus, that has existing capacity constraints.”

The 52 acres of land in Leander will be used to construct a medical facility in phases, beginning with an 11,200-square-foot freestanding emergency department and including future plans for a full-service hospital. Completion is anticipated in 2017.

The expansion at St. David’s Medical Center is being made due in part to the rapid growth of the world-renowned Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute, combined with the growth of the hospital’s surgical services. The money will focus on the cardiac electrophysiology program, and provide two additional operating rooms, 12 additional ICU beds and 24 additional medical/surgical beds.

“At our South Austin Medical Center, we have just opened a Level 2 Trauma program and it already was the busiest, highest-volume emergency services in Central Texas and as a result, we are at or near capacity in our emergency department,” Huffstutler said. “We are adding 16 ER beds, expanding the support area and adding a 34-bed medical surgical patient care unit on the campus as well.”