St. Luke’s Health System of Kansas City is working on an array of tiny hospitals that will have just eight to 10 beds for overnight stays as well as round-the-clock emergency rooms equipped and staffed like the ERs in their big parent hospitals.The micro trend, gaining traction nationally, provides one more option for patients beside the existing cornucopia of health care clinics in grocery stores, drug stores, strip malls and doctors offices. St. Luke’s thus far acknowledges plans to plant at least four micro hospitals — in Roeland Park, Overland Park, Leawood and Kansas City, Kan. — to augment the regional system’s nine existing hospitals. ”It’s the overnight beds that make micro hospitals different from free-standing ERs rooms that HCA Midwest Health and Shawnee Mission Health introduced years ago to the area.
Around the country, micros are blooming in Colorado, Texas, Nevada and Arizona — states like Kansas that don’t require Certificates of Need.Most of the new breed of micro hospitals are 15,000- to 50,000-square-foot facilities that cost $10 million to $30 million to build — far smaller and less expensive than large hospitals and far faster to bring to market.
The American Hospital Association points out that micro hospitals have to be licensed and follow the same regulations as large hospitals.Priya Bathija, senior associate director and public policy expert at the association, said it hasn’t tracked exactly where micro hospitals are developing, “but we’ve seen them in some areas because hospitals evolve to meet the needs of patients in their communities.”From 2010 to 2014, the association records showed, inpatient hospital admissions declined by more than 2 million nationally