Indianapolis Construction Update

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recession forces St. Francis to delay Indianapolis project

Citing the turbulent economy and its reeling effects on south-central Indiana, St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers has announced postponement of construction at the inpatient bed tower at its Indianapolis campus.

St. Francis officials announced that action March 11, emphasizing that construction will resume as the economy improves.

“Traditionally, hospitals have avoided such economic slumps, but that paradigm no longer exists,” said Robert J. Brody, St. Francis president and chief executive officer. “St. Francis is fortunate that it has a strong financial foundation because of its conservative planning and strong stewardship of its resources. This decision helps to reinforce our sound footing.”

The decision to postpone further construction will help shield the hospital system from the most negative effects of the recession and continue to provide health care to the patients St. Francis serves at not only Indianapolis, but also its campuses in Beech Grove and Mooresville.

At present, the concrete pouring at each of the floors of the inpatient bed tower is nearly complete and work to enclose the exterior is expected to be finished by mid-summer. At that time, the remaining construction will be put on hold. The overall project is about 40 percent complete.

The slowdown of construction and other capital projects is reverberating nationally with hospital systems. The American Hospital Association reported in January that nearly half of hospitals nationwide have put capital projects on hold, and many have stopped projects already in process. A January report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association places the number of postponements or cancellations at an even higher estimate of 78 percent.