SOUTHINGTON — A Bristol Health building that opened last month on Main Street is the largest outside of Bristol for the hospital group and represents a major expansion into a town that’s traditionally been served by Hartford HealthCare.
Bristol Hospital opened medical offices at the corner of Main Street and Columbus Avenue in 2018. Chris Boyle, hospital spokesman, said the response was good and prompted the expansion into a former Rite Aid building on Main Street.
“Since we opened our office in Southington in 2018, the community has welcomed us with open arms,” he said.
Most hospitals are working to get services closer to patients. The 7,000-square-foot building on Main Street does that for area residents, according to Boyle.
Bristol Hospital’s building will offer primary care, sports medicine, cardiology and general surgery.
“We’re bringing the expertise of a lot of our specialists,” he said. “So far it’s been very successful for us in Southington.”
The Bradley campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, owned by Hartford HealthCare, is less than a half-mile away, on Meriden Avenue.
“Hartford HealthCare has a clear mission to improve the health and healing of the communities we serve. Across the state and beyond, we are helping people live their healthiest lives,” said Hartford HealthCare spokeswoman Tina Varona. “Southington and the surrounding communities deserve the best care, which is why we are focused on increasing access to our expertise and care.”Getting care closer
Angela Mattie, a professor of business and medicine at Quinnipiac University, said hospitals nationwide are expanding outside their traditional geographic areas. Decades ago, hospitals would serve a community or area, and there were unwritten decisions about which hospitals served which areas. That’s been changing, Mattie said, as hospitals move care to surrounding towns.
“If you look at it on its face, it’s a good thing. The more you have accessible care in a community, the better it is for patients,” she said of Bristol Hospital’s Southington expansion.
Hospital leaders may also see opportunity in town, according to Mattie.
“Health care is a business, decisions about where to place facilities are, I’m sure, based on potential for market share,” she said. “We have to allow health care to function as a business, because it is a business. But we have to focus on the lowest cost for the best care.”
Serving patients in freestanding buildings is usually cheaper than hospital visits, Mattie said.Renovated pharmacy
Bristol Health was outgrowing its offices at the former Main Street location and started talking with local landlord Mat Florian about a new location in the summer. The hospital renovated the former Rite Aid building and is leasing the space from Florian, who owns the property.
Boyle said they’ve created a welcoming building that had extra space for additional services.
“The bricks and mortar matter,” he said. “You want to have a nice, appealing facility for your patients.”
Barbara Hekeler, Southington Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the new building is “beautiful.” The chamber was scheduled to hold a ribbon cutting on Thursday evening.
“The new facility is phenomenal, what they’ve accomplished over there,” she said.
Hekeler said Bristol Health has been an active member of the chamber and community, contributing to events and programs.
“They’re very strong supporters of the community,” she said.