By Vanessa Wall, Executive Assistant, PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Kyle; MHA Graduate student at Texas State University; Central Texas ACHE Communications Chair
Attracting more than 160 people a day, Austin is a unique city taking on diverse roles as a college town, seat of government, and technology innovator, which invites a review of how Austin’s health care infrastructure has responded amid rapid growth.
The cities growth rate is 48 percent above the U.S. average with expansion predominately taking place south of State Hwy 71 between U.S. Interstate 35 and U.S. Hwy 183 near McKinney Falls State Park and extending toward Creedmoor and State Hwy 45. With this growth comes leading high-tech and manufacturing industries, such as high-profile projects like Elon Musk’s Tesla headquarters, which attracts complementing service industry, job seekers, investors, and clients.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 2.3 million people live in the city and its five surrounding counties as of the summer 2020. Questions around health care’s ability to keep up with forecasted growth have been answered by a number of large health systems. People expect convenience, comfort, transparency, and clinical excellence when receiving health services. If the forecast is correct, demand will exceed the supply of healthcare facilities which can lead to fewer preventative services, poorer health outcomes, and higher mortality and disability rates.
Ascension Seton Medical Center has already begun to expand their reach by investing $320 million into a new tower dedicated to women’s health. Andy Davis, president and CEO of Ascension Texas, said the investment is following growth trends and their historic presence in the region.
“This expansion enables us to deliver personalized and compassionate care for our patients and creates the best place to practice medicine for our physician partners,” Davis said.
HCA St. David’s Healthcare has its own expansion as well. According to an Austin Business Journal report in February, HCA announced an investment worth almost $1 billion that will include expansions of existing properties as well as the development of new hospitals.
“This area continues to experience unprecedented growth… We’ve seen that over many, many years in Austin, but it has continued at an even faster pace over the past few years and we don’t see any evidence that will change going into the future,” said David Huffstutler, president and CEO of St. David’s Healthcare.
He told the Austin American-Statesman that by the end of 2024, St. David’s will add hospitals in Kyle and Leander and a behavioral hospital in North Austin.
“It doesn’t take much to understand what the growth is like in this community,” Huffstutler said. “Even before the pandemic, we were continuing to see an increase in capacity constraints in our facilities. We knew we had to be looking ahead to deal with this growth.”
Other hospital growth includes major construction projects from Texas Children’s Hospital as well as those from Baylor Scott & White.
Currently, the Austin Chamber of Commerce reports approximately 5,600 licensed hospital beds and 5,100 physicians who provide direct patient care.
Read more about area expansions and new facilities
Acension Seton New Tower
Ascension Seton Medical Center Expanding in Austin with New Tower Dedicated to Women’s Health. KVUE. https://www.kvue.com/article/news/ascension-seton-medical-center-austin-new-tower-womens-health/269-524ac2a4-31cf-4be6-93bb-325cec116549
St David Expansion
St. David’s HealthCare investing nearly $1 billion in Central Texas healthcare infrastructure. St. David’s Healthcare. https://stdavids.com/about/newsroom/st-david-s-healthcare-investing-nearly-1-billion-in-central-texas-healthcare-infrastructure