Ramtech, using its permanent modular building system, has been completing medical facilities throughout the southwest for over 30 years and never have we seen the wide variety of opinions on the future growth of the healthcare construction market as we do now. While Obamacare may significantly increase the number of medically insured individuals, the concern becomes what will be the resulting strain on the existing healthcare infrastructure and how must we physically grow our healthcare facilities to address this increase?
The Healthcare Design Connection is a LinkedIn discussion group made up primarily of architects, designers, and planners. When asked the question if “Obamacare’s here to stay. What should design leaders need to consider now?” the opinions recently expressed by this discussion group varied dramatically. Some think the number of hospitals will grow due to the increased money that hospitals will be making, while others think that critical access hospitals will be replaced by community based life enhancement centers. There is also a school of thought that says the traditional sources of capital will dry up with private capital taking its place. The bottom line? Even experienced healthcare professionals don’t agree on the future affects of Obamacare.
There is no doubt that our healthcare system as we presently know it will change. Hospitals and other providers have experienced reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and may well see further changes or reductions in the rules. The only way some hospitals will be able to survive is to see more patients without adding to their overhead for personnel and facilities. In other words, operate their facilities more efficiently. Efficient healthcare means reducing the number of patients in our hospitals that don’t need hospital level services. A main goal of healthcare reform is to provide more and better services to patients before they reach the point that a hospital is their only choice. Accomplishing this will require expanded community services such as more clinics, wellness and therapy centers, and more services relegated to physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Through regular preventative care, earlier detection of health problems, and education on wellness issues, healthier lifestyles will reduce the number of patients being hospitalized. Obviously, the greatest percentage of our healthcare costs are incurred during hospital stays and reducing the number of hospitalized patients is the quickest and most significant means of reducing our overall healthcare costs.
It appears that instead of increasing the number of hospitals we should be building more physician offices, urgent care centers, wellness centers, and community healthcare centers with a significant focus on the rural communities. A number of hospitals as well as private healthcare companies have decided that permanent modular construction should be a major part of the answer in establishing efficient healthcare facilities. Modular medical facilities are built to state building codes, and can be constructed much faster and less expensively than site constructed buildings. Ramtech has the most experience in providing modular healthcare facilities in rural areas in the southwest. To see for yourself, visit our healthcare facility website at ramtechmedical.com.
Bill Barron works in Business Development for Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has worked at Ramtech for over 20 years serving the Education, Healthcare, and Government Markets.