By Diane Krauthamer
The Kansas City-based Saint Luke’s Health System has entered the “micro-hospital” business. Beginning with its September 2016 announcement of an Overland Park micro-hospital, Saint Luke’s is now developing a micro-hospital at 132nd Street and State Line Road in the Village of Seville shopping strip in Leawood. The Leawood construction began a couple of months ago and its completion date is predicted for January 2018.
The micro hospitals are officially named the St. Luke’s Community Hospitals. They will include “seven outpatient ER beds and eight inpatient beds for observation, additional testing, and overnight inpatient stays,” says Laurel Gifford, Senior Director of Media Relations with Saint Luke’s Health System.
In addition to being open to the public “24/7, 365 days a year,” says Gifford, “Each hospital is equipped with an in-house lab, radiology, and pharmacy and staffed with board-certified or board-eligible ER physicians and ER trained nurses and staff.”
So, what is a micro-hospital? According to the Saint Luke’s website, micro-hospitals are “just what they sound like … smaller versions of full-service hospitals that include beds for admissions, trauma care, diagnostics and other services,” but with one key distinction: “shorter waits.”
While they are similar to urgent care facilities, micro-hospitals fill the need for greater medical attention that urgent care clinics lack. Micro-hospitals can attend to “serious problems” that may require screening and treatment at an emergency department.
The plan to develop the Leawood location was put forward by Texas-based developer Embree Asset Group, Inc., and approved by the Leawood City Council on Aug. 15, 2016. At the time of the proposal, the city and the developer anticipated “eight to nine months of construction… followed by 30 to 45 days to install equipment,” according to the meeting minutes
Embree has pursued similar development agreements for a micro-hospital in Overland Park and another in Roeland Park, though details about these two developments are scarce as well.
While Gifford says that at this point it is difficult to say how many new jobs will be created at the Leawood location but that overall the micro-hospital will fill a greater need in the community.