By: Brendan Meagher
2 min read November 2020 — After a tumultuous year for many healthcare organizations, things are starting to look up for Orlando’s top healthcare networks. With high hopes for mass vaccine distribution in the not-so-distant future, Orlando’s premier healthcare providers are starting to shift their focus for 2021 and beyond.
AdventHealth, an acute-care healthcare system with more than 2,800 beds in a comprehensive network of 17 hospitals is already making alterations to ensure its keystone position in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state of Florida. AdventHealth was one of five hospitals listed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel to be among the first hospitals in the state to receive access to any approved vaccine. With phase 3 testing completed by U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, AdventHealth may expect to receive the first round of vaccinations as early as December. This would allow the Orlando healthcare provider to focus on the innovation of its cardiology department, which performs more complex cardiology cases than any other facility in the country. Advent Health also claims one of the nations top robotic-assisted surgery facilities, with its AdventHealth Nicholson Center training over 15,000 surgeons in surgical robotics each year. The Nicholson Center should place AdventHealth in an advantageous position to capture the pent-up demand of elective procedures that were put off or postponed due to COVID-19.
With the emergence of more vaccines, Orlando International Airport will become pivotal in the distribution of vaccines to other major healthcare systems in the area like Orlando Health, Orlando VA Medical Center, and HCA Healthcare. Orlando International Airport consistently ranks in the Top 10 busiest US airports and has the capacity to handle and distribute large quantities of the vaccine to local healthcare organizations and other healthcare organizations in the state. The magnitude of the logistics operation behind the distribution of vaccines is not lost on the city of Orlando, as many residents will be directly involved or watching the city’s handling of the complicated task. The mNRA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will only increase the difficulty of the project as unprecedented freezer conditions are required for distribution and administration of the vaccine in an Orlando climate that rarely sees temperatures below 60 degrees.
As Orlando transitions into a post-COVID world, major healthcare provider Orlando Health is looking to expand its footprint in the area. The healthcare giant is set to open its six-story, 214,000-square-foot facility on Jan. 30, 2021. The almost completed project will be called Orlando Health Horizon West and will add 120 beds to the existing emergency room and medical pavilion on campus. Orlando Health also broke ground on its $341-million orthopedic complex the week of Nov. 15. The center, called the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute, will focus mainly on next-generation innovations and technology for orthopedic care. The state-of-the-art complex will add to Orlando Health’s Downtown Orlando campus, and feature a medical hospital, medical pavilion, and parking garage. The two major projects will be equipped with the latest and safest technologies to ensure CEO David Strong’s vision of providing outstanding customer service and exceptional patient outcomes.
The Orlando Health projects may create an influx of healthcare jobs in an already strong Orlando healthcare job market. Orlando is proud of its No. 5 ranking in Curative’s list of metros with the highest average doctor compensation with an average salary of $406,587. Curative’s study was further broken down by specialty compensation with the primary specialty practice of the new project, orthopedic surgery, ranking No. 3 on Curative’s list. The completion of the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute in 2023 will help bring a surge of highly compensated individuals to the Orlando metropolis, possibly bolstering the local economy.
Logistics jobs created in the distributing of COVID-19 vaccines combined with the development of cutting-edge medical facilities are ultimately a part of Mayor Buddy Dyer’s commitment to making Orlando America’s premier future-ready city. While the specific details of his plans are unknown in an inexact future, the city’s partnership with VHB consultants will help the city refine its Future Ready Master Plan. The city of Orlando is firmly committed to advancing opportunities for all as Orlando becomes more innovative and technologically connected. In an otherwise uncertain future, one thing not in question is the central role that Orlando’s healthcare organizations will play in Orlando’s transition into one of the United States’ top future-ready cities.