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Archive for the ‘Austin Healthcare’ Category

Lakeway Regional Medical Center Taking Shape

by Michael Scheffe | November 22nd, 2010

For years we’ve watched the 50-acre site on Highway 620 at Flint Rock Trace near Lakeway with interest.  First there were signs with the announcement of a new hospital on it.  Then dirt began to move.  Then dirt stopped moving.  Then the site sat still.  And then it sat still some more.  Then rumors swirled that the financing for the project fell through.  (Rumors that proved to be true.)

Then more news (that financing had been secured.)  And better yet, that it was government-backed financing.  And now here we are on the eve of Thanksgiving 2010 and construction of an over one million square foot medical complex is in full swing! 

That’s right.  I said over one million square feet; 1,100,000 when fully-phased to be precise.  To give you an idea of the scale, that’s very close to the size of the nearby Hill Country Galleria

With a 170-bed hospital at its core, the Lakeway Regional Medical Center site also includes two medical office buildings, parking garages, a day care center, an extended-stay hotel, and a retail center with shops and restaurants.  

The hospital will be operated by a group of doctors who have, collectively, invested $40 million of their own money in the construction of the $200 million+ project.  According to the developers, as a physician-operated hospital, the doctors will have much more control over patient care and how the hospital is run than they would ever have in a traditionally-managed, corporate-run hospital.

The hospital is scheduled to have a Level 1 Trauma Center (the highest level of trauma care in the nation.)  As a point of reference, only Brackenridge and Dell Children’s Medical Center offer Level 1 Trauma centers in the Austin-area.    Otherwise, as it was pointed out to me in a recent presentation that I attended hosted by the hospital developers, a Level 1 trauma center is a 45-minute helicopter ride from here.

As for the economic impact to the area, the hospital piece alone will initially employ nearly 1,500 people.   Likewise, from ancillary services like pharmacies to home health care to linen suppliers, I am told that each bed in a hospital like this has the potential to add 20 jobs to the local economy.  That’s over 3,000 new jobs created.  Moreover, as it stands, over half of the doctors slated to come to the new hospital are coming from out of the Austin area.  These doctors and their staffs will likely see virtue in living near the complex.  This means real estate sales. 

The magnitude of the financial impact the hospital could have on the area is mind-boggling.  Will it add to an already difficult traffic situation?  Almost certainly.  Will it add to the development and re-development of the surrounding area?  Probably so.  But the reality is that population in this area of Austin is predicted to double in the next 10 years.  That kind of population must have quality medical care, both emergency and non-critical, in the area.  The fact that a first-class, physician-managed facility might just be the offering is a real coup for area residents current and future.

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