September 28, 2022

How St. David’s will staff new hospitals as part of $1B expansion

AUSTIN (KXAN) — St. David’s HealthCare is promising three new hospitals and several other facility expansions using nearly $1 billion in infrastructure investments. It’s part of its efforts to keep up with Central Texas growth.

“We had capacity problems even before COVID. People have longer wait times than they should in hospital emergency room departments, because we are trying to find space upstairs in our hospital surgical units and ICUs that are nearing capacity,” said St. David’s CEO David Huffstutler.

Capacity concerns are the reason for the $1 billion investment. St. David’s HealthCare’s investments will include:

  • $142.5 million for a new full-service, acute care hospital in Leander
  • $185 million for a new full-service, acute care hospital in the Kyle area
  • $33.8 million for a new 80-bed behavioral health hospital near St. David’s North Austin Medical Center
  • $145.9 million for renovation and expansion at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center
  • $249 million for renovation and expansion at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center
  •  $53.1 million for an expansion at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center
  • $20.9 million for an expansion at Heart Hospital of Austin
  • $43 million for renovation and expansion at St. David’s Medical Center
  • $80 million for construction of future capacity at area hospitals to accommodate future growth
  • St. David's facility upgrades. (Courtesy: St. David's HealthCare)
  • St. David's facility upgrades. (Courtesy: St. David's HealthCare)

The hospital system has plans to bring on hundreds of new health care professionals — a task that comes with a lot of weight in today’s market.

Up against neighboring hospital systems

St. David’s will also be competing with other hospital systems who are also in the process of expanding. Ascension Seton is preparing to break ground on a women’s health tower at its central Austin campus.

The women’s tower will be a $320 million investment and part of a broader expansion and modernization plan for Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin.

Baylor Scott & White has also added 3 new hospitals and 5 clinics across Central Texas in the last three years.

  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Pflugerville – opened in 2019
  • Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Pflugerville – opened in 2019 
  • Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Buda – opened in 2019  
  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Buda – opened in 2019
  • Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Oak Hill – opened in 2019 
  • Baylor Scott & Whtie Medical Center – Austin – opened in 2020
  • Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Bee Cave – opened 2020  
  • Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Round Rock Eagle’s Nest – opened 2020

St. David’s said it plans to take advantage of the various nursing schools across Central Texas including one of its own.

In 2021, the Galen College of Nursing located next to St. David’s Surgical Center in north Austin, welcomed its first round of nursing students.

Tapping into area nursing schools

“We’re tapping into that pipeline of nurses early on,” said Huffstutler.

Texas A&M also has a nursing school in Round Rock where Terry O’Daniel and Darren Schurr currently go. The two soon-to-be graduates have already been scooped up by Ascension Seton.

“It’s really the students’ market right now. To be able to hunt for what you want and secure a position, it was done pretty quickly,” said O’Daniel. “We both could have had multiple offers, but we had one particular type of nursing in mind.”

Terry and Darren landed on Seton because of the research opportunity and overall growth the hospital system has to offer.

“We’re interested in continuing our education and medicine constantly changes, and you need to keep up with that, what better place to be than a research hospital,” said Schurr. “It’s a huge trauma center that speaks volumes on a resume and is a great learning opportunity.”

O’Daniel said she is also interested in Seton because of its nonprofit status and its work to serve large underinsured or non-insured communities.

St. David’s HealthCare is confident it will find enough health care professions to meet staffing demands.

“These are long-lead projects. We have an opportunity to plan for that staffing ahead of time,” said Huffstutler.

St. David’s expects to have each of these expansion projects done in 2023.

How St. David’s HealthCare will staff 3 new hospitals as part of $1B expansion