Miami Children’s Hospital has launched an ambitious expansion program this year, opening four new outpatient treatment centers, including one in Broward and another in midtown Miami, only four miles from the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial campus, which has a large pediatrics program.
The four centers will cost about $14 million, with donations paying part of that, said hospital spokeswoman Rachael Perry.
Vice President Nancy Humbert said the locations will offer “convenient, affordable care.” Hospital executives decided there was a need to expand because imaging and rehabilitation services grew by 11 percent last year and urgent care grew by 6 percent, she said.
The new locations — in Miramar, Palm Beach Gardens, Miami Lakes, and 3915 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami — will feature urgent-care centers focusing on after-hours treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. During regular business hours, those locations will also offer diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, and appointments with pediatric subspecialists.
The Miami location, scheduled to open later this summer, is a 10-minute drive from Jackson-UM, where medical-school doctors work at Holtz Children’s Hospital and in nearby medical offices. The Jackson/UM combination boasts that it was ranked in the top 50 in the nation in eight pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. Miami Children’s boasts it was in the top 50 in all 10 specialties in the same survey.
For several years, Jackson/UM pediatric leaders have been concerned that their outpatient services were scattered and outdated. In 2010, a UM-Jackson official estimated the joint operation was losing $10 million a year in outpatient pediatric imaging services alone because it did not have a children’s ambulatory pavilion. The struggling system still does not have the money to build the project.
Jackson spokesman Edwin O’Dell said Jackson remains “fully committed” to keeping pediatrics as a center of excellence and its neonatal intensive care unit “remains among the best in the world.” He said the neonatal intensive care unit is being renovated, and Jackson is “moving toward” an operating agreement with UM that will solidify the relationship between the public hospital and UM pediatricians.
Jackson also leases a medical-office building on Biscayne Boulevard, a block south of the new Miami Children’s offices. O’Dell said the space includes an imaging center and offices for some physician specialists. “Our plans are to expand operations there.”
UM has also been expanding its pediatrics operations. In February, a UM official said its pediatric specialists had started seeing patients at Broward Health Medical Center, formerly known as Broward General, and the medical school has been planning to open pediatricians offices in Weston. A UM spokeswoman said Tuesday the school had no comments for this story.
Humbert, the Miami Children’s executive, said the Miami location was chosen after “we did our demographic analysis, trying to look where the children are and where are the children’s needs.” They decided Biscayne Boulevard would be a good location to serve children from Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, and the midtown Miami areas.
The Miramar center is being opened at least partly because Miami Children’s found that many parents in North Miami-Dade were driving into Broward for appointments, Humbert said.
Miami Children’s has six outpatient facilities already open.