Baptist Medical Center Plans Expansion for 2016

 FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. — Baptist Medical is currently in the process of a proposal to expand the standalone emergency room in Fleming Island to a full hospital due to the growing communities in North East Florida.

The 100-bed expansion, which would be on a 32-acre site on Fleming Island, is currently set to cost $70 million and will take between 18 and 24 months to complete. Although it will be slightly smaller than the proposed Orange Park Medical Center nearby, Darian Roark of Baptist Clay said that Clay County is a growing community, and the residents have indicated that they want to receive their health care close to home, showing a need for the expansion.

The Baptist Medical Center expansion will likely be the first of several more proposals. Surrounding communities, such as St. Johns and Nassau are also growing communities in the need of healthcare. The community growth has Baptist Health also looking at putting facilities near St. Johns Town Center and possibly one more near interstate 295. To show the need for expansion, Baptist Clay has pointed out that when a number of Fleming Island High School students were injured during a water slide collapse, it was helpful for them to have health care only a couple of minutes away.

One resident near Clay County has said that having the hospitals nearby has given him the access to larger pharmacies that carry more medications and make it easier for him to receive the medications that he needs.

As Baptist Health continues to grow UF Health Jacksonville, has opened a North Campus emergency room and will soon break ground on a 92- bed hospital. UF Health has said that the visits at the North Campus have already exceeding expectations and has shown them that North East Florida needs more health care options.

By October, Baptist Health has to submit its complete application for a Certificate of Need to the Agency for Health Care Administration. The agency will then have until December 4 to approve or deny the request. After this, there will be a three-week period for public feedback. If there is an opposition during this period, it could delay the start of construction about six months, until the middle of 2016.