Insight Blog

Are Healthcare Villages the Future of Healthcare?

Assuming you aren’t living under a rock, you are well aware of how the healthcare industry is changing in this country. And it seems that everywhere you look, there is a new hospital, outpatient, testing, or wellness facility being built.

If you’re a professional in Architecture|Engineering|Construction (AEC), or Facilities Management (FM), you know how difficult it is to stay abreast of the latest movements in healthcare delivery, design, and construction. As Helbling & Associates works exclusively with organizations in AEC and FM, we are cognizant of how various trends are evolving and affecting our client organizations.

A movement that we have yet to see in Pittsburgh (where our office is located), but probably will soon due to our high population of baby boomers, is the planning, development, and construction of healthcare villages.

What is a healthcare village?

According to Navigant Consulting, a healthcare village is a mixed-use setting that is anchored by a healthcare provider. It is an environment that integrates healthcare with retail, commercial, education, residential, and wellness services. These medical-focused campuses are popping up around the country and the world.

You may have heard about Union Village (UV), a high-profile healthcare village and master-planned community being developed in the suburbs of Las Vegas. UV has been recognized by various industry publications including Engineering New-Record and Health Facilities Management as one of the top five largest healthcare building projects currently under construction in the U.S. The development certainly offers a glimpse of the future of healthcare and, when completed, it will be first integrated health village in the world.

Being built on 228 acres, UV will utilize the most advanced technologies and be environmentally sustainable. Many believe that it will have the potential to change the healthcare landscape in southern Nevada by creating a healthcare magnet, which will draw medicals professionals as well as patients to the region.

While UV was first announced in April of 2011, the project was plagued with financial and legal issues. But, it is finally coming to fruition, with construction being initiated this past October. The entire development includes:

  • Union Centre - Hospital and healthcare complex, medical office space, proton therapy center, and athletic club.
  • Union Plaza  - Retail center with residential apartments, entertainment facilities, and a hotel.
  • Union Place - Senior retirement community of 1,000 units offering independent and assisted living.
  • Union Park - Cultural center, and a space and science center.

When completed in Autumn of 2016, the hospital will join 5 other hospitals of The Valley Health System, which are owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services (UHS). UHS is one the country’s largest healthcare management companies, operating acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. UHS acts as the advisor to University Health Realty Income Trust, a real estate investment trust. UV’s dedicated team of planners, designers, developers, builders, and asset managers includes such firms as:

  • HKS Architects

  • HMC Architects

  • Hammes Company

  • Haskell Company

  • Juliet companies

  • PENTA Building Group (and co-investor)

  • Raymond  Group

  • Southland Industries (and co-investor)

  • Turner Construction Company

UV’s total price tag? Between $1.2B and $1.6B. Reportedly to take 10 to 15 years to complete, UV will most likely become a model for healthcare villages moving forward. While that in itself is impressive, the development will also be a boon for the local economy. It has been noted that it will produce 5,000 construction jobs, 12,000 healthcare and retail jobs, and contribute billions to the local economy.

A similar project to UV is Florida Hospital Health Village in downtown Orlando, Florida. The village is part of a 20-year master plan and includes several hospitals and health clinics, a college campus, research institutes, multiple health and fitness centers, apartments, retail stores, and restaurants. The 172-acre campus is taking shape with a new research institute for diabetes and obesity, and over the next 15 years, Florida Hospital and its partners will reportedly spend more than $1B on the campus.

Are healthcare villages the future of healthcare?

According to Navigant Consulting, the answer is a resounding “yes”. In its 2014 report, Healthcare Villages – A Growing Trend in America, the company says that healthcare within a mixed-use village setting is an essential strategy in meeting the expectations of those in the baby boomer generation, which is currently at 78 million people. These boomers have a thirst for active retirement, and they are currently the generation that has the greatest buying power.

As healthcare continues to transform itself, Navigant says the concept of healthcare villages will grow in popularity, and public and private stakeholders will be increasingly attracted to the healthcare industry when developing innovative partnerships because they offer benefits such as:

  • Collaboration between public and private parties has the potential to revitalize stagnant geographic areas and be a catalyst for economic growth.

  • Economic impact can touch on direct and indirect employment growth, retail growth, and housing growth.

  • Healthcare infrastructure will encourage healthier communities and leverage healthcare resources across the continuum of care.

  • Encourage innovative partnerships among developers, retailers, and healthcare providers.

As we have all watched the healthcare sector change significantly over the past few years, it will be interesting to see what the future holds. In reality, it’s not just baby boomers who are demanding more out of healthcare. We all want to have accessibility to innovative healthcare tools and advanced technologies. Master-planned developments that are focused on health and wellness seem like an absolute for the future.

Sources: Florida Trend, Granger Group, HC+O News, HMC Architects, Navigant Consulting, Union Village.