As municipalities grow, medical facilities may become overwhelmed by increasing demand, physical space limitations, and inadequate staffing. Before embarking on such a monumental project, however, there are a few things that need to be verified. First, how does the hospital’s performance rate considering its present balance of patient demand, medical professional staffing, and space limitations? That is, hospital trustees and local administrators must have verified information regarding how the hospital wishes to expand and why the expansion is necessary, given the costliness of such a procedure.
Hospital administrators begin with measuring local demographics: how have they changed since the hospital originally opened? How are the shifting patient demographics affecting hospital operations? Has the facility itself, as well as the hospital equipment it houses, aged well? Once hospital administrators have accurately assessed demographic changes, they can begin looking at nearby land. What sorts of zoning restrictions are in place? Local zoning laws can severely limit expansion depending on the location of nearby resources and residents. Larger healthcare providers may be prompted to set up satellite facilities outside of the central municipality. City planners and surveyors are indispensable at this stage, as they assist hospital administrators in assessing possible new routes for increased patient demand and future hospital expansion.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (also known as the ACA or Obamacare) has also had significant effects on hospital construction, renovation, and expansion. The Affordable Care Act is perhaps most well-known for its mandate that any small business with over 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance coverage for their full-time staff. Businesses that opt out of the ACA will have to pay a substantial financial penalty per full-time staff member left uninsured. Opponents of the law worry that this will cause an overall shift toward part-time labor, putting health insurance coverage out of reach for many American citizens.
Hospital administrators, on the other hand, are concerned with the Affordable Care Act’s potential effects on hospital performance. The recent economic downturn, combined with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, has produced an uncertain climate for healthcare providers. Construction and renovation has slowed, given that patient revenue at many hospitals has been drastically reduced. It remains to be seen whether the Affordable Care Act’s public health insurance options will be enough to provide hospital administrators with the revenue they need to implement needed renovations. With tens of millions of Americans entering the new health insurance infrastructure, chances are good that hospital revenue nationwide will begin recovering.