HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that St. Vincent's Medical Center's planned expansion into Jacksonville's hot Southside healthcare market reflects the difficulties of long-range planning in a rapidly changing market. According to the latest issue of the Jacksonville Market Overview, St. Vincent's is acquiring St. Luke's Hospital from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, but will not assume operational control of the facility until 2008.
Population growth, increased demand of an estimated two to five percent annually, and less-restrictive certificate-of-need (CON) laws have combined to generate almost $600 million in healthcare construction and expansion projects in the Jacksonville area. Under the new CON laws, hospitals no longer need approval to add acute-care beds to existing hospitals, but the CON process still applies to new hospitals and appeals can delay construction for years.
"The dynamics of the Southside healthcare market are shifting quickly as competing healthcare systems make a grab for market share," said Patrick Powers, HealthLeaders-InterStudy senior analyst. "While the St. Luke's deal seems to position St. Vincent's well, it's riskier than it looks. Mayo Clinic is also building a new hospital in Southside, and is transferring the St. Luke's open-heart surgery CON to the new facility. If St. Vincent's wants to reintroduce open-heart surgery to St. Luke's, it will need to apply for a new certificate. Another Southside hospital, HCA Jacksonville's Memorial, will complete renovations in 2008 as well. St Vincent's may find it an uphill battle to gain a foothold in Southside, as competition between well-financed health systems will be strong."
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