Expect these game-changing health care trends to hit Orlando

Henry Grady III sees several game-changing medical trends popping up in the area, including an increase in the number of local health care facilities, consolidation of health care providers and a need for area and doctors to learn how to provide more care with less money.

Grady, the healthcare industry manager for SunTrust Banks, believes medical providers in are targeting new housing developments when searching for land on which to build new health facilities. He points to ‘s planned freestanding ER and medical pavilion in Lake Mary as an example of health care providers like hospitals seeking future population growth sites. In fact, it is just one of 10 freestanding ERs under construction in metro Orlando, adding to five existing ones near big employers. Orlando Health is a $3.8 billion nonprofit health care provider that owns nine Central Florida hospitals, 11 urgent care centers, as well as several cancer centers, freestanding ERs and more.

“The health systems are growing where the growth is,” Grady told Orlando Journal. “When you have new communities constructed, when you have these new multi-thousand house development projects, you have to have schools, you have to have the infrastructure, you have to have health care.”

According to Grady, interest rates and cash flow remain favorable enough to help finance growth. “You have two viable not-for-profit health systems [Orlando Health and Florida Hospital], you have a very viable for-profit system here [HCA], and they’re all doing very well — they’re all moving with the growth.”

But there are some negative trends to keep in mind. Over the past few years, reimbursement for hospitals has not grown as quickly as before, meaning they have to do more with less. “There’s a big concern about where reimbursement is going. One thing the hospitals and the doctors are convinced is that next year, they are not going to make more money than this year, so it feels like reimbursement is continuing to shrink.”

Grady believes the pressure is coming from government and insurance companies to control costs at the expense of hospitals and doctors, who have to deal with tighter budgets. “We’re not going to pay you to keep running tests. We’re not going to pay you to prescribe opioids and other medicines that are very effective but can be dangerous.”

Medical providers also need to figure out how to provide care more efficiently, with fewer people and fewer expenses. For example, in Tampa, two competitors partnered to provide certain health services together. “They decided what they were going to do was build a rehabilitation hospital together. So instead of each of them going out, buying land, figuring out where to be, building a rehabilitation hospital and competing, they asked ‘What if we did it together?’.”

Grady compared the move to Coke and Pepsi coming together to make a new drink. He sees the potential for Orlando-area hospitals to save money by focusing spending on care instead of competing in certain specific areas. “By no means is Orlando behind in that regard, but if you’re asking where there may be the opportunity, if there is focus on the population’s health, there are opportunities for providers to work together in certain areas.”