Published on March 22, 2013

St. Vincent's Clay County hospital will include 'medical mall'

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

One of the defining features of St. Vincent’s HealthCare’s new Clay County hospital is a “medical mall,” the outpatient surgery facility right off the main entrance that will feature electronic check-in kiosks and a hallway to funnel patients directly to where they need to go — pre-admission testing, radiology and pre-surgery waiting areas.

There’ll be a coffee shop right off the lobby for waiting family members, so they won’t have to risk missing the doctor by heading to the cafeteria, which will be further away, in the main hospital.

The concept is designed to maximize two things: Patient convenience and profits.

“Outpatient is where the majority of growth for hospitals is today,” said Blain Claypool, president of St. Vincent’s Clay County. “And it also helps drive margins to cross-subsidize the services we provide to the poor.”

The hospital won’t be open for another six months — it’s scheduled to treat the first patient Oct. 1 — but St. Vincent's held a tour for members of the media to see the construction progress and meet Claypool, who was hired Jan. 18 and is working from the Riverside hospital. Click through the slideshow to see some of the tour.

Baptist Health of Northeast Florida is also under construction on a Clay County health care facility, a freestanding emergency room about 10 miles away in Fleming Island. The threat of that competition — the hospital’s main source of admissions is its emergency room — doesn’t bother Claypool.

“As a freestanding emergency room, they don’t have immediate access to the services we do here,” he said. “So I think there’s a niche for it, but me personally, when I walk into the emergency room, I want to know if I need a surgeon, or if I need an internist, they’re there, and I’m just going to go upstairs.”

Claypool was previously CEO of Renown South Meadows Medical Center in Reno, Nevada. He and his wife and four children will move to Middleburg.

He said he’d previously crossed paths with Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare, and Donnie Romine, the health system’s chief operating officer. The three of them had all held COO positions at different hospitals under the United Health Services Inc. health system in the 1990s.

Claypool said he’s excited to build the hospital’s culture from scratch. He said he reshaped the culture at Renown after he arrived, and his philosophy is based on the idea of tapping into the altruism that drew his staff to health care.

“As I walk around the hospital, if you do not go home at night believing you have provided the highest level of safety and quality, you better grab me, and you better stop me, because I’m failing you,” he said. “And I’m failing you as your leader.

“I’m a very visible person. I’m not in my office. You won’t find me in my office. I like to be out walking around. Maybe it’s because I drink too much coffee, I don’t know, but you’ll see me out walking around, talking to people, but that’s the way you find it and you engage that culture and let people reach the level of what brought them and drew them to health care.”

Read the article in the Jacksonville Business Journal.