Forest Park Medical Center on track for September opening in Fort Worth

06/08/2014 10:36 AM

06/08/2014 10:37 AM

Tarrant County’s latest hospital is on track for a fall opening.

Forest Park Medical Center Fort Worth, off Bryant Irvin Road in southwest Fort Worth, is expected to be completed by midsummer and to start admitting patients in September, CEO Jim Davis said last week.

The project is on about 9 acres in the new Clearfork development on the Edwards Ranch property. It’s been pretty much hidden but will have more visibility now that the nearby Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road is open.

During a tour of the 54-bed hospital last week, Davis said the doctor-owned facility expects to focus on brain/spinal surgery and gastrointestinal procedures among other specialties, but not obstetrics or cardiology. It does have a full emergency department, required of a full-service hospital, and is connected to an 80,000-square-foot medical office building.

The big difference between Forest Park and other hospitals is that it doesn’t accept Medicare. Forest Park has three other hospitals in North Texas, including one in Southlake that opened last year, and all accept only private insurance. The others are in Dallas and Frisco.

It’s a somewhat controversial model. The federal government prohibits new doctor-owned facilities from qualifying for Medicare payments, viewing them as encouraging physicians to perform more expensive procedures. There are about 275 such facilities in the United States.

Davis doesn’t apologize for the approach, saying his 90 doctor/owners prefer to design their own facility and can produce superior results with a smaller, more focused hospital.

“Historically, the mindset was you could not make it without Medicare and Medicaid,” he said. But North Texas is a fast-growing market with plenty of insured workers, he said, and the company negotiates reimbursement contracts with their insurers just like any other healthcare facility.

It’s expected to employ 150-175 workers when it opens, and human resources director Lindsay Kunefke said recruiting has gone well.

The hospital, office building and 540-place parking garage, with a budget of about $100 million, is being developed by Neal Richards Group of Dallas, which will lease it to Forest Park, said Harry Leake, the developer’s chief investment officer.

Just who employed the workers at big Moto X plant?

With great fanfare, Google’s Motorola Mobility announced last year that it was bringing back cellphone manufacturing to the United States — to the Alliance development in north Fort Worth, in fact.

Unfortunately, market forces kicked in. Google sold the unit to the Chinese-owned Lenovo Group, and the Moto X model sold poorly. Now assembly is being moved overseas.

As with such shutdowns, there is the benignly worded statement of severance packages and possible job transfers, invariably difficult to pin down or verify.

Google had outsourced the actual manufacturing to a firm called Flextronics, which told the state recently that 223 workers would be affected. But the public had been told 700 were still employed at the plant, down from a peak of 3,500.

So who employed the other 450-plus folks?

No one would tell us for sure. But a call to a unit of a major labor contracting company, Maryland-based Aerotek, elicited information that it had people at the Flextronics plant. But spokeswoman Lauren Walker didn’t respond to several voice mails over several days seeking details. No WARN layoff notice has been issued by Aerotek, possibly indicating that all might be part-timers or contract workers, if it had anyone there at all.

Thought the plant was supposed to symbolize the resurgence of domestic high-tech manufacturing, it shows that even firms being outsourced to can turn around and outsource to others. Sort of like China and Bangladesh.

Fort Worth chamber deemed Worthy with awards

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce was recently presented the Best of Show award in the annual Worthy Awards program of the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

The chamber’s marketing team was recognized for materials it created for the organization’s annual meeting in 2013. The materials were called “Methods of Mass Instruction.”

The materials also won a Worthy Award, the group’s top honor, in the publications category, and the chamber bagged another in the video/audio category for an economic development video.

“The chamber does good work on tight budgets only because of the support of our talented members,” said Andra Bennett House, the chamber’s senior director of communications. “Many agencies, PR consultants, printers and photographers/videographers have donated or discounted their time and creativity to our programs. For these winning projects, special thanks to Balcom, Pavlov, Cooksey Communications, Red Productions, Four Color Press and Cockrell Enovation for helping the chamber advance the mission of making Fort Worth an excellent place to live, work and do business.”

Other Worthy Award winners were the Balcom Agency, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, the Fort Worth school district, Lawrence & Associates, Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County, Brodnicki Public Relations and Strategic Image Inc.

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