Microhospitals On The Horizon In Oklahoma City

Jul 21, 2017

Small hospitals with an emergency room and a handful of beds could be coming to Oklahoma City.

Cross Development Acquisitions, a Texas-based developer, is working to build a small-scale microhospital in northwest Oklahoma City.

The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo writes:

Microhospitals can help a medical system establish a relationship with nearby residents who aren’t already patients, while providing specific services, said hospital trade group President Craig Jones.

Microhospitals are seen as a way to keep costs down while capturing the sharp rise in outpatient hospital visits. Kaiser Health News reported last year that, according to figures from the American Hospital Association, “between 2010 and 2014, the annual number of inpatient hospital admissions declined by more than 2 million to 33.1 million. … Meanwhile, the total number of outpatient hospital visits increased to 693.1 million in 2014 from 651.4 million four years earlier.”

The microhospital will have an emergency department, radiology, outpatient surgery and four inpatient beds. Oklahoma City’s planning department approved the developer’s application to build the microhospital. The application still requires approval from city council.

Terry-Cobo says microhospitals have been around for a while nationwide, but are a new thing for Oklahoma City.

“Generally you’ll find these in places that can’t support a full-size hospital, but still have the need for emergency department access. More often than not these buildings are in urban or suburban areas,” Terry-Cobo told KGOU.

Microhospitals offer many of the same services as full hospitals, but on a smaller scale. She says they are often found in areas that need emergency department access, but can’t support a full hospital.

“Typically a micro-hospital building is around 20,000 or 30,000 square feet. Compare that with Integris Baptist Medical Center, which is about one million square feet,” Terry-Cobo said.

While there are no hospitals yet in Oklahoma, they are on the way. Integris announced a partnership with a Texas company in October to build four hospitals in four years.


McCleland: Sarah, first, which coffeehouses are giving away their old grounds?

Well there are several, including Elemental Coffee and the Starbucks inside the George Nigh Center at the University of Central Oklahoma. And at one point, Cuppies and Joe’s was giving its grounds to a curbside compost pickup service called Fertile Ground.

McCleland: Why do customers want old coffee grounds in the first place?

We’ll there’s not much use in the kitchen, but there is in the garden. Coffee grounds are very high in nitrogen, which is a good fertilizer. It’s hard to find nitrogen in a natural source, aside from things like legumes - you know, soybeans - clover or alfalfa.

McCleland: So about how much poundage of old coffee grounds can a coffeehouse give away in single day?

It really varies on how busy the cafe is. Elemental already had about ten pounds by 10:00 a.m. when I spoke to them earlier in the week. And the Starbucks at UCO’s Nigh Center gives away about 50 pounds a week in the summer, but that’s likely to pick up once the semester begins.

McCleland: So for customers the benefit is using these old coffee grounds for compost, for their garden. But what’s the benefit for the business?

So they’re throwing away less in the dumpster, but sometimes that’s hard to really measure. Really there is the social benefit. Customers see that the coffee shops have this program and it shows the business is socially conscious.

McCleland: So UCO gives away the grounds from the Starbucks there, but at they also use at the school as part of one of their programs. Tell us a little bit about that. How does UCO use the coffee grounds on campus?

So there, Jacob, is a quantifiable benefit. UCO has a sustainability program, and they mix those coffee grounds with dead leaves to make compost, which is you know, like a rich, organic soil. So they don’t have to buy dirt for the garden on campus, which saves money.

McCleland: I suppose in the  bigger picture here this isn’t so much about old coffee grounds, but just about businesses who are recycling their waste. Were you able to find any other businesses who were doing similar things with other types of waste?

Well, so, Fertile Ground, that I mentioned, they pick up organic waste from companies that sell plants and from some restaurants. Fertile Ground will also deliver the so-called green waste to Minnick Materials, which is the metro’s largest commercial compost company.

McCleland: Now have you ever scooped up a bucket full of old coffee grounds on your way out of picking up coffee?

I have not, but I do often put grounds from my morning coffee in my own compost bin at home.

McCleland: Let’s talk about another story you wrote this week, Sarah. This one is about a developer who wants to open a microhospital in northwest Oklahoma City. That name really stood out to me.A microhospital. I never heard of this before. Could  you explain what this concept is?

It’s a pretty interesting concept, actually They vary across the country, but generally it has an emergency department, a place for X-rays and MRI scans, and a handful of beds for overnight stays. Sometimes they’ll have inpatient surgery centers as well. Typically a micro-hospital building is around 20,000 or 30,000 square feet. Compare that with Integris Baptist Medical Center, which is about one million square feet.

McCleland: What’s the niche that a microhospital can fill?

Generally you’ll find these in places that can’t support a full-size hospital, but still have the need for emergency department access. More often than not these buildings are in urban or suburban areas.

McCleland: Is this a relatively recent phenomenon?

It’s relatively recent for Oklahoma. But it’s been around nationwide for a few years.

McCleland: Do we already have some microhospitals here in Oklahoma City?

Not yet. But last October Integris announced a partnership with a Texas company to build four micro-hospitals in four years.

McCleland: What’s the benefit for patients to go to a microhospital instead of a larger, full-scale hospital?

This may seem obvious, but It’s smaller. So it’s easier to find a parking space to get where you need to go, and to get out. It’s more of an intimate setting, too, which could be less overwhelming than a large hospital complex. Think about that when you or a loved one may be feeling ill, not feeling well. It’s easy to get in and out.

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