Baptist Health plans new hospital for Clay County

Fleming Island campus prepares for 300,000-square foot, 100-bed facility

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FLEMING ISLAND – To meet the growing need for health care services in Clay County, Baptist Health is planning to build a full-service hospital on its existing Baptist Clay Medical Campus. Groundbreaking will occur in the spring of 2020, with the hospital opening planned for early 2022.

The 300,000-square-foot, full-service hospital will open with 100 beds, including women’s services and enhanced cardiology services. The hospital will be designed with modern features, including placing diagnostic equipment near the ICU for patients who need it the most, and corridors designed with calming LED lighting, and centralized staff services to minimize noise.

These services are in addition to those already existing at the Baptist Clay Campus on Fleming Island, which opened in May of 2013, and includes an adult ER, a Wolfson Children’s Hospital ER, an ambulatory surgery center, specialty services and imaging.

Baptist Health is investing $200 million to build the new hospital, which will create 700 new jobs in Clay County. Baptist Health is targeting the rapidly expanding Clay County area, with a median age of 39, to meet the growing medical needs of families in the area.

“Clay County residents tell us they need more hospital-based health care services close to where they live and work,” said Darin Roark, BSN, MBA, RN, FACHE, current vice president of Ambulatory Campuses and Emergency Services, who will serve as the new hospital’s president. “Having a full-service hospital nearby will eliminate the need for travel, while providing the medical expertise that Baptist Health is known for.”

The new hospital is being designed with patients’ and visitors’ preferences in mind, with large private patient rooms and onsite amenities, like Starbucks, an outdoor dining area and a large community room for meetings and education that can hold up to 125 people.

“It will be a place of health and wellness for the community,” said Roark. “We will host a variety of health-related events, such as “Talk with a Doc” discussions on a variety of health topics.”

The new hospital be ready to meet the expected needs of the growing county for years, Roark said.

“We’ve projected five years into the future,” he said. “We’re looking for ways to make smaller hospitals closer to home.”

The state last July dropped its certificate of need policy that regulated which hospital groups could build and limited the number of beds. As soon as that happened, Baptist Health put its plan to build a hospital in conjunction with its existing emergency departments into motion.

“We began working on this in early spring [of 2019],” Roark said. “We dusted off our old plans and updated them. This is a new idea in healthcare. It’s no small task to build a hospital, but we will take our time and get it right.”

A new hospital on Fleming Island follows the opening three months ago of the Baptist Emergency Center at Oakleaf, a 20-bed freestanding emergency department for both adults and children.

The Fleming Island campus will include an outdoor jogging path connecting to the current Black Creek Trail. “As part of Baptist Health’s commitment to the community, the plants and trees along the lake banks will be maintained and the large Oak Grove on the southern end of the campus will be preserved,” Roark said.

Roark joined Baptist Health in 2012 as an assistant administrator overseeing all emergency centers in the health system. Roark has served as administrator of the Baptist Clay Medical Campus since October 2013 and serves as the Baptist Health liaison in Clay County. He is the current chairman of the board of The Clay County Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of the Clay County Utility Authority. Roark and his family live on Fleming Island.

“As a Clay County resident for many years, I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to bring world-class, patient-focused health care to Clay County,” Roark said.

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