ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Apparently with a population boom, there comes a hospital boom.
It's happening in St. Johns County.
The county is in the works to quadruple the number of hospitals here.
For years, there has only been one hospital in the county: Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine. It’s been serving the area for 130 years. Now, the number of hospitals will explode to four because three more are in the works.
According to the St. Johns County Growth Management Department, Baptist Health is planning a hospital near the State Road 207 exit on I-95.
However, a Baptist Health spokesperson told First Coast News it will not be a hospital but the facility will start with outpatient services, including physician offices.
Flagler Health its building its second hospital and medical park by the Durbin Park shopping center.
And Ascension St. Vincent's is building a hospital along I-95 on County Road 210.
Tom VanOsdol is the C.E.O. of Ascension Health. He said, "St. Johns County is one of the fastest growing counties in Florida and the nation."
Jason Barrett, C.E.O. of Flagler Health+ said there is a need for more healthcare in the county. "There are 270,000 residents in St. Johns County. Today we’re adding 15,000 new residents every year. That’s the equivalent of adding a new St. Augustine every year."
So now this means there will be competition in the county and hospital leaders say that’s good for the consumer.
"More beyond being a patient, they are consumers," Barrett noted, "and they have choice, so it’s incumbent upon the provider to provide a superior offering." He added, "The winner should be the patient."
Baptist Health has not broken ground yet.
Flagler is literally laying the ground work. That hospital is expected to open in late 2023.
And Ascension St. Vincent's St. Johns County will open this summer.
VanOsdol added, "We welcome the competition."