Special Section: Health & Wellness

Palm Coast’s expanding medical sector is starting to provide more higher paying jobs and is
opening up many more educational opportunities for students in this field

Palm Coast is poised to become a medical hub for its residents and those of the greater Flagler County area.
With the coming of two new hospitals — one for which ground was broke in September 2021 and another announced the third of week of December — community officials anticipate the new facilities will not only provide more accessible local health care, but also provide stable, professional level jobs to bolster the year-round economy.
“This is a clear and present opportunity right here in front of us,” said Greg Blose, president and CEO of the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We are all about what we can do to foster this.”
In mid-December, FlaglerHealth+ closed a $2.2 million real estate deal purchasing a 70-acre tract of land located on the west side of the U.S. 1 and Palm Coast Parkway intersection. The purchase — along with plans for a comprehensive health complex including a full-service hospital — was announced on December 17 via the health corporation’s website.
FlaglerHealth+ also owns a seven-acre tract on the southwest corner of Matanzas Wood Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway where civil engineering work is underway in preparation for construction of a family practice health village including behavioral health services, orthopedics, specialty care, imaging and laboratory services. An orthopedics practice was also added in the Palm Coast Town Center, a primary care office on Old Kings Road and a virtual walk-in clinic at Publix.
These medical offerings join a $145 million, 100-bed hospital being constructed for AdventHealth near Bridgehaven Drive on the Palm Coast Parkway. This facility is expected to open in the spring of 2023. AdventHealth already operates another hospital in Palm Coast.
“This will be another defining moment in the history of the City of Palm Coast as we welcome a second health-care service provider network into the city,” Mayor David Alfin told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on December 17 when the FlaglerHealth+ announcement was made. “The demographics (of Palm Coast and Flagler County) obviously supports health care.”
Blose backs that thought stating that forecasts by state demographic forecasters indicate that Palm Coast’s population could easily double in the next 20 years.
“The demographic of our future points to a significant health care need,” Blose said, noting that joining Palm Coast’s retirees are a growing number of young families.
Yet, it isn’t just the need for medical facilities that Blose looks to as an economic engine for Palm Coast. He also sees the opportunity for Palm Coast to become an educational hub.
“There is a significant shortage of fully trained medical professionals not only here in Palm Coast, but across the entire state of Florida,” he said. “If we can create a hub here at which medical professionals are trained, that opens the door to so many other exciting opportunities we cannot even dream of right now.”
He points to a milestone moment in medical education in Palm Coast: In August 2021, the University of Florida’s satellite campus located in the Town Center in Palm Coast welcomed 21 local nursing students. Called MedNexus, the new Palm Coast-based training facility offers area students access to advanced medical training via classroom and remote learning without long commutes to locations elsewhere.
Meanwhile, as new hospitals are being built and access to training increases, here are profiles of health and wellness opportunities already fully present in Palm Coast.