Valley 'Microhospitals' Cater To Niche Market Of Patients
In the western United States, small health-care centers are popping up in urban areas where care may not be readily available.
The tiny, 24/7 centers are called ‘microhospitals’ and have anywhere from 16 to 24 hospital beds, and an emergency room physician on staff at all times.
Dignity Health opened two microhospitals a few years ago, in Glendale’s Westgate and in Laveen, both growing suburban areas. Another is in the works near Mesa-Gateway Airport.
Dignity Health Arizona Chief Financial Officer Matthew Cox said the mini hospitals provide services for a niche market.
“It’s a trend that’s on the rise right now because it doesn’t make sense to replicate high-end trauma services every 10 miles across a big city,” Cox said.
University of Arizona's Center for Rural Health Director Dan Derksen said microhospitals are still too new a concept to determine their success.
“There is as chance it will duplicate services, and that’s kind of the opposite direction we want to go," Derksen said. "We don’t need more fragments in our system, we need to figure out ways to integrate services.”
The centers provide basic emergency and general surgery services and typically cost more than urgent care, but less than full service hospitals.
The two Valley microhospitals are in urban areas, but Derksen said the trend could benefit rural populations. He said in the last 10 years, three rural hospitals in Arizona have closed.