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Ear, Nose, Throat, Hard Hat:
Florida Hospital Flagler Shows Off Its New Digs

| February 28, 2012

Florida Hospital Flagler's Parkway Medical Plaza, between Palm Coast's Walmart and Golden Coral, opens in July.
(© FlaglerLive)

It was quite the contrast: some 90 construction workers went about their work Friday morning on Florida Hospital Flagler’s new colony on Palm Coast Parkway while coffee, danishes, muffins, cascades of glaze and other sugar-spiking pastries spread forth to welcome dozens of whiter-collared visitors for what hospital administrators termed a “hard-hat tour” of their latest jewel: a 34,000 square foot, $15 million medical center–$5 million of it equipment—soon to be filled with a walk-in emergency clinic, an imaging and blood lab, about 10 doctors, some of them servicing a couple of new specialties not yet available in Palm Coast, and a rehab ward for adults and children.

The tour marshaled Hospital CEO David Ottati, his right-hand-man John Subers, Ottati’s business development manager Wally DeAquino and several other top staffers who highlighted the expansion’s benefit to the community in terms of new services, more jobs, more convenience for people seeking care, especially on that side of town, where some residents think of Town Center nearer State Road 100 as a galaxy far, far away.

But there was no question, either, that Florida Hospital Flagler’s new location is making a serious statement to its competitors: its expansion is also an attempt to grab a bigger share of the lucrative health care pie in imaging, lab work and the walk-in clinic business.

Florida Hospital Flagler is the health care giant in town, in other words, and it not only intends to stay that way, but to diversify within the health care sphere as the business—the only sure-growth thing in the economy’s near term—finds its way through innumerable emerging business models grabbing for dividends.

Consumers aren’t becoming merely more numerous. They’re becoming more demanding and more discriminating, in large part because federal law and insurance rules are shifting costs and responsibilities to consumers, who now expect a higher return. So health care providers not only have to court them for their business. They have to convince them to stick around by rewarding their loyalty. Ottati’s strategy has been to keep a step ahead of those perceived consumer expectations. The new medical center is one of the results.

When it opens in July, what will be called Parkway Medical Plaza will have the sort of MRI that’ll let you wear movie-streaming goggles to help distract you while you’re in that jarring tunnel. Yes, kids, you can even bring your favorite DVD. It’ll have a women’s care center (mammograms, ultrasounds and so on) in a particularly discreet part of the building, to afford optimal privacy. Three of the eight doctors who’ll be located at the new location will provide new services (for example, a nephrologist, or kidney doctor, and an ear, nose and throat doctor). The urgent care clinic won’t be new. It’ll be the same urgent care clinic the hospital runs in Town Center. But that location will close and move to the Parkway.

“An urgent care needs to be in a high traffic location,” DeAquino said, “and we felt we were too close to the hospital, too close to the ER, so it became confusing for the patients at times.”

The clinic had been located at Town Center under the assumption that that part of town would have been booming by now. It isn’t. The move to the Parkway suggests that the city’s center of gravity is not moving south nearly as much as its leaders wished or planned for, with the older part of town still exerting some pull. Ottati said the hospital will work with the landlord to re-fill the Town center location with a tenant. “We want to make sure our medical community next to the hospital is vibrant, so we don’t want to see shell space anywhere close to us,” Ottati said. “Our intention is to make sure that folks who want space there, we can continue to help them rent it, rent them fill it.”

Meanwhile, the hospital itself is at 100 percent capacity. Expanding to the Parkway is also a matter of giving the hospital’s new doctors office space as more and more doctors choose to abandon private practice and embrace working as employees of a hospital: the salary is not as high, but the hours are more predictable, the headaches are fewer and insurance bills cheaper.

David Ottati. (© FlaglerLive)

Otatti and the hospital are always working on their next plan, and it generally means an expansion of some sort. The hospital now has 930 to 940 employees, total, making it the leading or second-leading private business in the county (assuming that Palm Coast Data, which has been losing employees, is no longer at the 1,000-employee mark.) Otatti, who conducts a medical-market analysis of the region once a year, was asked about the next plans. “We have ideas, but nothing we want to throw out today,” he said. “This is a big project. It is almost full. So by the time it opens we’ll have two spaces available, physician-wise, and I believe we already have one of those already locked up, so we’ll end up with one physician space.”

Ottati notes that for all the hospital’s expansions, the Palm Coast market is still not ready to support certain specialties on its own—for example, neurosurgery or open-heart thoracic surgery. Meanwhile, Ottati said, “we’re doing our part as a health care organization to create jobs, to bring more services, we’ve done that well over the past couple of years and we’re continually pushing to do better.”

In an unrelated move, Florida Hospital Flagler announced the hiring today of Joshua Champion as human resources director. Champion will administer employee relations, recruitment, compensation, and benefit plans, including the hospital’s employee health department. Champion has been with Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital Flagler’s corporate office, for several years and in multiple capacities. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Health Care Administration with a minor in Management from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala. and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University in Longwood, Fla.

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2 Responses for “Ear, Nose, Throat, Hard Hat:
Florida Hospital Flagler Shows Off Its New Digs”

  1. palmcoaster says:

    @ Mr.Ottati CEO of the Adventist owned Flagler Hospital;
    Your moved your Annex from the Town Center to our Palm Coast Parkway location because, we loyal Palmcoasters on emergencies do not want to drive (time and gas price) all the way there “given the emergency”. Then your Town Center location was not profitable!!
    Also we faithfully use our several local small businesses good emergency Clinics (P.C Urgent Care, Mediquick, etc) and friendly doctors practices “right here in the core of Palm Coast”, because also are more affordable than the hospital in many cases. Now my question is: are you planning to drive them out of business as you did mostly already in the Office Park Center on PC Pkwy and Club House Drive, since your hospital opened, leaving plenty of vacant space there and you will force them to move to your plush new facility and enforce only to use your assistant personnel generating lay offs and also force them to only use your buddies out of county suppliers, taking away for good the work they do with local suppliers now? Our medical professionals, their employees along the P.C Parkway as well as the local suppliers are very concerned about it. Lets wait and see as not all that shines in the local presented as Economic Development, is gold. Would be nice to get a reply…

  2. palmcoaster says:

    I have to recognize and appreciate the City of Palm Coast officials for contracting lately one of our local small business clinics, Mediquick for their services.
    I hope the new Hospital Annex won’t take away that contract.
    I want to warn ladies utilizing the local Palm Coast Imaging very successful services, of their deceiving practices while pricing their test to unemployed and indeed without insurance coverage, women. When they are paid by insurance they can charge and double charge whatever they want…that is why there is so much fraud. Now when an unemployed woman without insurance tries to painfully pay of her own pocket, she should not be treated in the same way. First of all “they refuse to give a written estimate” for the procedure, second they tell you will be $700 to call back in few hours, with the error that actually is $1,200 by phone only (wether you like it or not, take it or leave it) based in the computer entered diagnostic, that they are reading. When you show up for it , they charge you $1,425 against your best argument. After that, a tissue tested with their associate Halifax with negative malignancy results and never priced up front either, ends up being $1,200 more! Plus the two consecutive imaging testing @ a whooping $200 plus each. Never mind the 3 doctors appointments of which only two considered the young woman uninsured and unemployed situation for a discount! Only the wealthy have the right to be sick in our country nowadays. Later was found out, that in other imaging services, the cost is only 1/3 of the above…
    Sorry for my begining You”r” in my first comment. should have typed You. These issues are very testy…

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