- Alexandra Clough Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood is making a big push into Palm Beach County, with plans to build a large medical office complex in Wellington to offer patients specialized pediatric services.
The hospital, part of Memorial Healthcare System, will build a 30,000-square-foot office building at 3315 State Road 7, said Nina Beauchesne, Memorial executive vice president. The Wellington office is set to start construction soon, with completion expected by mid-2018.
While some Joe DiMaggio doctors based out of the south Broward County headquarters may rotate up to the Wellington practice, Beauchesne said many of the Wellington physicians will be Joe DiMaggio doctors who already live in Palm Beach County.
“Our goal is to have people become part of the fabric of their communities,” Beauchesne said.
Beauchesne said the services are in response to interest from patients, pediatricians and hospitals who have provided feedback about specialists needed in the county.
Joe DiMaggio’s decision follows a trend by hospital companies around the nation to expand to reach new patients, health care experts said.
New York University’s Langone Medical Center is weighing whether to lease about 7,000 square feet in the Northbridge Centre office building at 515 N. Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, sources said. The office would provide high-end executive health care and other medical services.
In addition, Cleveland Clinic Florida, which has medical offices and outpatient services at CityPlace Tower in West Palm Beach, continues to search for additional space in Palm Beach County, where it could possibly perform outpatient surgeries, sources said.
And late last year, Jupiter Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital of New York expanded their alliance and agreed to lease office space in West Palm Beach at 625 N. Flagler Drive, formerly the Bank of America Centre.
NYU, Mt. Sinai and Cleveland Clinic all like being near Palm Beach, where they are able to raise millions of dollars each year from wealthy island residents.
And all hospital companies like being in Palm Beach County, where there is a growing population that also carries health insurance. “It’s all about people getting a piece of this lucrative market,” said John Couris, Jupiter Medical president and chief executive.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital spent years trying to find the right location for a big expansion into Palm Beach County.
The hospital has two small clinic offices in Boca Raton, but it nearly took space in an office building planned for the giant Avenir housing community on the western edge of Palm Beach Gardens.
Plans fell apart, however, because the project’s pace was slow and another proposed office tenant, Keiser University, ended up buying Northwood University for its expansion.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital competes for pediatric patients with Nicklaus (Miami) Children’s Hospital.
In recent years, Nicklaus Children’s has established a presence in Palm Beach County with the creation of an urgent care center in Palm Beach Gardens and a growing relationship with Jupiter Medical Center.
But Beauchesne said Joe DiMaggio is taking a different approach to the competition.
Instead of providing urgent care or hospital services, she said Joe DiMaggio has decided to focus on serving patients needing specialty physician services in medical offices.
Joe DiMaggio is a top hospital for pediatric cardiology, including heart surgery, but its medical offices also offer gastroenterology, endocrinology, urology and a variety of other specialty services. In addition, its respected orthopedic team is the largest group of fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeons in South Florida — and one of the busiest in the country.
Treatments of pediatric sports injuries will be one focus in Wellington. Rehab services may also be offered.
Beauchesne said there would be other specialty medical services offered in Wellington, but she wasn’t yet ready to name them.
At one time, hospitals limited service to people in their immediate area. But now the trend is for hospital companies to expand and reach out to patients outside their geographic boundaries, said Michael Feldman, a director in the West Palm Beach office of Cushman & Wakefield.
“It’s the regionalization of medicine, getting it closer to the customer,” Feldman said.
Of course, having offices in far-flung locations also can drive larger and more expensive procedures, such as surgeries, back to the mother ship hospital, added Mark Pateman, Cushman & Wakefield’s managing principal for Palm Beach County.
While some hospitals are expanding, others are collaborating with local players.
A Jupiter Medical Center-Mount Sinai New York sign recently went up on the West Palm Beach office building where the hospitals are sharing space. Work is afoot to demolish old bank space and ready it for medical office use. The hospital companies also are weighing whether to take an additional floor for extra services, said Michael McCloskey, one of the building’s owners.
In addition, Jupiter has teamed up with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital so that Miami Children’s doctors can use technology to remotely examine patients and talk to their parents, Jupiter Medical’s Couris said.
Couris added that Jupiter Medical also is expanding its pediatric services and now has 12 inpatient beds, two pediatric operating suites and pediatric emergency room physicians. Plans to build an eight-bed pediatric emergency room are in the works for this summer, he added.