Jupiter Medical Center plans $120 million expansion, its largest ever

4:49 p.m Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 Local
The Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center opened at Jupiter Medical Center in 2015. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Jupiter Medical Center, the town’s largest employer, is planning a $123 million expansion that includes a cancer institute, an intensive care unit for heart patients and infants, and a stroke program.

“We want our patients not to have to leave our community to get the care they need,” said Dale Hocking, JMC vice president of finance and chief financial officer.

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The expansion is underway with a $30 million plan to replace the internal medical information system. Construction is expected to start next month to build about 130,000 square feet of medical space as part of the non-profit hospital’s largest expansion since it opened in 1979 on Military Trail.

About six acres of land has been bought by JMC along Toney Penna Drive. Part of that land will be used for parking for about 250 employees who now park offsite and are bused to JMC.

Completion of the expansion, which will include an intensive care unit for infants, is expected in the summer of 2019.

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Primary heart care is now available at JMC. Heart patients who need intensive care must be transferred to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center or other hospitals.

“The expansion will allow us to do open-heart and other more complex cardiac procedures that today we cannot do,” said Hocking.

Recent JMC expansions have been the $46 million Florence A. De George Pavilion and the $12 million Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center.

Strong donations from the public are the reason the expansion is being done now, said Hocking.

About $94 million has been donated in the past three years to JMC, putting it in the same fund-raising league with other major American hospitals such as Boston Children’s Hospital and San Francisco General Hospital.

Those donations include:

* A $25 million anonymous donation in 2016.

* A $5 million gift from an anonymous donor in December for a comprehensive stroke center.

* The Mastroianni Foundation in November donated $3 million for a new pediatric unit.

“We are no longer a small hospital due to the generosity of the philanthropists that made these contributions,” said Liv Vesely, president of the 14-member JMC Foundation, which raises money for JMC.

JMC employs about 1,800, not including about 580 physicians. About 640 volunteers donate their time at JMC.

About 150 new positions are expected to be created when the new construction is finished, said Hocking.

JMC is a not-for-profit 327-bed regional medical center consisting of 207 private acute-care hospital beds and 120 long-term care, sub-acute rehabilitation and hospice beds. JMC is slightly smaller than St. Mary’s Health Care System.

To fund the expansion Jupiter Medical Center is using about $70 million in tax-exempt bonds and $53 million from the JMC Foundation.