WESLEY CHAPEL — Central Pasco residents, who for years had to drive miles into Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to see doctors, soon will get more choices close to home.
Florida Medical Clinic recently announced plans to build a three-story medical office building on the Wiregrass Ranch property between the Shops at Wiregrass and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. Construction on the 85,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to begin this summer, with plans to open in summer 2015.
The building is expected to be home to an estimated 45 to 50 physicians and more than 150 medical employees, supporting 20-plus medical specialties. According to marketing director Janet Wing, those will include family medicine, internal medicine, urgent care, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, nephrology, otolaryngology, psychiatry, pediatrics, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, neurology and general surgery. Other on-site services will include diagnostic radiology, laboratory and physical therapy.
Wing said the clinic currently has small offices scattered around Wesley Chapel, with most being housed in leased office condos on Cashford Circle near the Seven Oaks neighborhood and another on County Road 54 near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
"Isn't in wonderful?" Wing said of the new facility.
The clinic, which ranks eighth in revenue in the Tampa Bay area, has expanded in recent years. A 32,000-square-foot, two-story facility opened on 10 acres at State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes about eight years ago.
The clinic also took over a former Borders bookstore on Dale Mabry Highway in Carollwood.
Wing said the clinic's strengths are its electronic medical records and ownership by physicians.
"It's a really good model," she said. "Our culture has been to let doctors be doctors and let us run the business."
The clinic, based in Land O'Lakes, was founded in 1993 and today has more than 200 medical providers and specialists and more than 1,000 additional staffers working in 35 locations throughout Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
Florida Medical Clinic's electronic medical records connect all doctors in all facilities to one comprehensive computerized chart providing information including patient medicines, allergy lists, lab reports, radiology images, medical history, procedure history and all physician reports.
This will be the second-largest building of Florida Medical Clinic's 35 locations. The largest, about 120,000 square feet, is on U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills.
Records show the 12-acre Wiregrass Ranch site was purchased in October for $4 million. The building represents a $20 million investment, Wing said.
Wesley Chapel is starting to become a hub for medical offices, with the opening of the 83-bed, $160 million Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel on Wiregrass Ranch land in 2012. Ten Broeck bought 23 acres in Wiregrass Ranch on the south side of State Road 56 in 2012 and opened North Tampa Behavioral Health center a year later. Pasco-Hernando State College opened its Porter campus near the hospital last month on 60 acres of land donated by the Porter family, which owns Wiregrass Ranch. Among its offerings are nursing degrees. The seven-story building features a high-tech lab that simulates a hospital.
All this comes at a good time for residents. The 2012 report from the Suncoast Health Council, the latest available, shows Pasco designated by the federal government as an area underserved by primary care doctors. Records show the county lagged the state in the number of licensed physicians per 100,000 people, with Pasco having 153.3 to the state average of 298.6.
A report by national planning experts from the Urban Land Institute recommended that the county expand economic development by capitalizing on industries it already has.
The report prompted the county's Economic Development Council to focus greater efforts toward luring the health care industry.