Specialty hospitals on the upswing

With a focus on value and clinical outcomes hospital executives are honing their efforts on projects that demonstrate a return on investment while better positioning their organization in the competitive marketplace. An uptick in healthcare real estate has been seen in specialty hospitals with 10% of hospital executives indicating them as current construction projects according to a 2012 ASHE/HFM construction survey.

Several specialties are seeing swings in construction activity in the next three years. 34% of hospital executives indicated cancer treatment hospitals were under construction, up from 21% from last year’s ASHE/HFM construction survey. There are slightly more orthopedic specialty hospitals planned for the next three years than projected last year while heart hospitals have stayed fairly flat. 

Hospital executives are preparing for the future not only for the expected baby boomers who will all require enhanced medical needs especially in the aforementioned specialties, but by focusing on an area of expertise, hospitals and health systems may build their brand reputation in a field where consumers flock to the best and brightest.

Healthcare reform has driven health systems to narrow their gaze on patient safety and quality of care. By precisely focusing on a small number of medical procedures, specialty hospitals execute that responsibility well. With the need to improve medical outcomes and hospitals migrating to a pay for performance system, specialty hospitals are likely to continue growing.

Specialty hospitals will be well-positioned to benefit from value based purchasing and other pay for performance programs that Medicare and private insurance companies are now offering and will continue to offer. Ranking well in length of stay, discharge rates and quality care measures, specialty hospitals may expect to receive higher than average financial compensations on the health measures payers compensate.

Specialty hospitals are gaining traction for future expansion and development and should healthcare reform be enacted down the road, it will help light the way.  



James Ellis, CEO, Health Care Realty Development Company, is a nationally recognized successful real estate investor and developer of medical office properties with a comprehensive knowledge of sophisticated real estate transactions, cost effective designs, and efficient property management.


Aaron Razavi is Associate Marketing Director at Health Care Realty Development.



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