Arkansas’ building boom remains on the uptick, particularly in health care facilities. Data shows that spending on construction for hospitals, clinics and the like almost doubled in 2015, compared to 2014.
As of November, health-care related projects reached $312 million in valuation. Arkansas based news journal Arkansas’ Business Online reports that this is a huge leap from the $160.6 million the year before for commercial construction ongoing at the time. The $312 million doesn’t even include similar health care building projects that have started recently. An example is the Arkansas Children’s Hospital of Little Rock, which has a value of $167 million and is set to open in January 2018.
Across Arkansas, rehabilitation and renovation of hospitals and health care centers are in various stages of completion. One of 2015’s biggest projects was Baptist Health of Little Rock in Conway, a large hospital projected to open its doors in September.
This jump in health care-related construction is said to be a direct effect of the rise in private health care spending. The latter was up 8.6% to $31 billion in 2015, while public health care spending dropped 9.2% to $8.52 billion the same year.
So what we are seeing in health care is a real shift, at least in terms of investments from the public sector to the private sector.
Anirban Basu, chief economist of the Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. in Washington, D.C. says. The Affordable Care Act is also a large factor in this, helping millions of Americans get health care insurance, which in turn has propelled the demand for private health care services and facilities. “That has resulted in a considerable amount of private investment that has taken different forms,” Basu adds.
This spending trend has not been limited to Arkansas. Statistics show that the value of health care-related building across the Untied States rose 4% to almost $40 billion in 2015. Since projects that began in 2016 have not been included, it is expected that these numbers are higher, and will continue to rise this year as long as the demands necessitate them.