Old shopping malls are being turned into health clinics

Failing shopping malls are being converted into health clinics across the country as they offer accessibility and convenience to patients, reported Fortune April 25.

There are 32 malls across the nation that house healthcare clinics, a third of which have been announced during the pandemic. Malls offer a good option for health systems that want to expand but are constrained by expense and crumbling buildings.

"Most of these hospitals are in areas where there’s just no room to grow. And if you do, it’s so expensive," Andrew McDonald, a former hospital administrator and current leader of accounting and consulting firm LBMC, told Fortune. "These buildings are old. They’re antiquated. They’re very expensive to maintain."

Malls are desirable to health systems for a variety of reasons. They are usually extremely accessible and built in areas that are convenient for dense populations. Malls are also designed with lots of space and are easy to navigate and are often accessible, equipped with elevators and clear signposting. 

"It just creates a whole lot more efficient flow for the patient going through the health care system with whatever infirmity they may have," said Mr. McDonald

Nashville based-Vanderbilt Health has already added 22 clinics to one mall, One Hundred Oaks, and Benefis Health System in Helena, Mont., is building a 60,000-square-foot primary care and specialty clinic. Physicians from the Medical University of South Carolina now perform surgeries in the same spot where J.C. Penney used to stand in Citadel Mall, Charleston.

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