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Naples leaders ponder approval for new $150 million NCH facility

NCH leaders point to Baker campus as ideal spot
Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 18:13:04-05

NAPLES, Fla. — NCH Healthcare System is planning the construction of a new cardiac institute, the R.M Schulze Critical Care Center, at the Downtown Baker Hospital Campus in Naples. However, the project is currently awaiting approval, prompting a meeting with the Naples City Planning Advisory Board and the Naples City Council.

For more than two years, NCH has been awaiting the green-light for the new cardiac institute. So, NCH says they looked to the Naples City Planning Advisory Board to give them a positive recommendation for the development to move forward.

The CEO of NCH Healthcare System, Paul Hiltz, expressed the organization's commitment to high-quality healthcare, saying, “We want to bring a world-class facility, one building—a five-story building—which will replace a three-story building, and we're trying to answer the questions about the design and the parking for our proposal."

But, despite the vision for advanced cardiac care, concerns were raised by some Naples residents regarding potential traffic and infrastructure disruptions. Bebe Kanter, a Naples resident, voiced understanding for the concerns, stating, "I understand why they're upset because it's very bad to have construction near you for the 18 months. You might get some flat tires.”

So, Hiltz says NCH brought in consulting firm to research locations for the new institute. Hiltz emphasized that the Downtown Baker Hospital Campus emerged as the ideal spot based on the research.

“Most of the strokes and heart attacks occur within five miles of this campus,” noted Hiltz, underlining the importance of fast access to critical care for heart and stroke patients.

The proposed institute aims to add 2-3 new operating rooms and over 20 cardiac intensive care units. NCH is a non-profit, so they say a significant portion of the cost will be raised through donations.

“If approved, this building will be vitally important to attract and retain world-class doctors for the people who live here,” emphasized Hiltz. The CEO further mentioned that the construction is anticipated to take 24 months.