Atlanta’s Healthcare Providers Expand Campuses New facilities provide residents with easier access to medical care
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Outpatient Care Center
It’s getting easier to get great healthcare in metro Atlanta as the state’s largest healthcare providers — WellStar, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory Healthcare and Northside — have opened (or are currently building) new facilities, which offer a wide array of comprehensive outpatient services and diagnostic testing.
So-called community health parks are a growing trend in U.S. healthcare. In fact, Joe Brywczynski, senior vice president of Health Parks Development for WellStar Health System, said the industry expects 23 percent growth over the next five years in outpatient services nationwide. To put that into perspective, Georgia hospitals alone provided nearly $47.8 billion in economic impact last year, according to the Georgia Hospital Association. WellStar’s 11 hospitals accounted for nearly 10 percent of that total at $4.6 billion.
But the development of health parks is less about money and more about patient care. “We think these health parks are very unique in that they’re combining a bunch of outpatient services together in one facility,” said Brywczynski. “From a patient’s perspective, they love it. They don’t have to go to a hospital for a basic outpatient procedure” and deal with the complexities of navigating a large hospital — from the parking to actually finding the room you’re supposed to go to.
WellStar has been pioneering the concept of health parks in the state of Georgia, where it is building these facilities in the communities it already serves with its other hospitals and clinics. Currently, it operates three health parks in Cobb County: Acworth, East Cobb and Vinings. The 70,000-square-foot Acworth Health Park opened in July 2012 and will see more than 205,000 patients this year. The East Cobb facility opened in September 2014 with a much larger, 162,000-square-foot footprint. More than 210,000 patients are expected to walk through its doors this year. Similar in design and square footage, the Vinings Health Park opened in September.
Though they may vary slightly by location, these WellStar facilities offer a wide scope of services, including family/general medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, urgent care, large imaging, a retail pharmacy, sleep centers, cardiac diagnostics, and even outpatient surgery.
Northside Hospital also is filling the need for outpatient care in East Cobb. The organization’s four-story, 100,000-square-foot East Cobb Medical Center at Johnson Ferry Road and Olde Towne Parkway opened in May of this year to provide access to a broad range of services including imaging, cardiology, orthopedics, urgent care, and other specialties. “The East Cobb community expects and deserves access to great health care,” said Doug MacDonald, vice president of planning and real estate at Northside. “We’re proud to say that the Northside East Cobb Medical Center will offer Cobb area residents just that.”
Similarly, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is developing its first one-stop outpatient care facility. The three-story, 30,000-square-foot outpatient care center, as it is known, will open next February at CHOA’s Town Center location in Kennesaw. According to Pamela Younker, CHOA’s community development officer, the center will offer sports medicine, an outpatient rehabilitation center, and sub-specialties including endocrinology, audiology, pulmonology, orthotics and prosthetics, and more. “It’s really going to be a great facility to get kids taken care of and get them back on the playing fields and back to living a normal life,” Younker said. Of course, if a child needs hospitalization, CHOA has its Scottish Rite, Egleston, and Hugh Spalding facilities.
CHOA currently is building the Center for Advanced Pediatrics at North Druid Hills Road; it will open in spring 2018. This center will bring pediatric specialists and clinics under one roof to help CHOA’s young patients, particularly those who are considered medically fragile and have to see multiple specialists, Younker said.
Orthopaedics & Spine Treatment
This past summer, Emory Healthcare opened a new outpatient clinic for orthopaedics, sports medicine, and spine treatment in Smyrna on South Cobb Drive. The 8,000-square-foot facility located on the Emory at Smyrna campus offers a full range of treatments and physical therapy, including treatment for injuries such as sprains, fractures, dislocations and tears, as well as spine conditions resulting in neck, shoulder or back pain. It also includes an on-site MRI for imaging services.
Emory Healthcare targeted Smyrna — just outside the Atlanta Perimeter — in an effort to meet the increasing demands for orthopaedic care in the booming Smyrna area and create ease of access to Emory’s Services. “The opening of our Smyrna regional office for Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is part of a broader strategic initiative,” says Scott D. Boden, MD, director, Orthopaedic Business Development and Strategy for Emory Healthcare. “Our goal is to provide Atlanta residents with closer access to this highly talented group of surgeons and non-surgical physicians.”
New Emergency Care
WellStar will be breaking ground this fall on a new emergency department at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. The hospital’s existing emergency department is the busiest in the state and the fifth busiest in the country, serving more than 141,000 patients last year. To serve a growing need, WellStar has designed a new, two-story, 150,000-square-foot building that will connect directly to the existing Kennestone emergency center via a pedestrian bridge. According to WellStar, the new facility addition will make this emergency department the second largest in the country.
Undoubtedly, Northside, Emory, CHOA and WellStar are meeting the need for more comprehensive outpatient care and emergency services for metro Atlanta and they’re doing so in an increasingly modern fashion — with one eye toward efficiency and the other toward comprehensive service.