MUSKEGON — Mercy Health Partners is planning a $96.7 million renovation and expansion project that would consolidate several inpatient services at one of its two Muskegon hospital campuses.
The project would include more than 188,000 square feet of new construction and renovation at the Mercy Campus on East Sherman Boulevard. New construction would account for $49.2 million of the total project costs, according to a preliminary filing with state regulators.
Medical services relocating from the Hackley Campus 2.9 miles away to the Mercy Campus include surgery, the intensive-care and critical-care units, cardiac catheterization, some medical imaging including a CT scanner and pharmacy. The emergency room at the Mercy Campus will also undergo expansion.
The moves would eliminate redundancies between the two hospital campuses and enable Mercy Health Partners to “take the next step” in the 2007 merger between the former Mercy General Health Partners and Hackley Hospital, said interim president Greg Loomis.
“We still have a bit of duplications in two hospitals that are a couple miles apart,” he said.
Another key driver of the project is the changing nature of health care with the increased emphasis on outpatient care and changes in how hospitals are paid to focus more on wellness and health prevention, which will push inpatient volumes lower in the future.
Mercy Health Partners is now moving to position its physical plant to meet the industry changes, Loomis said.
“Our world is changing. The hospital is going to not be the center of the health care universe in the future,” Loomis said. “To have these two big inpatient structures as we have today just doesn’t make sense in our future. We have to get our hospital infrastructure right-sized for the future.”
The expansion and renovation of the Mercy Campus still needs the approval of parent company Trinity Health to proceed, and the plans could change. If given the OK by Trinity in the coming weeks, the project would represent the largest health care project proposed in West Michigan in some time.
If all goes as hoped, construction could start as early as this July with occupancy occurring in 2016.
Loomis described the work under consideration as a “bare-bones” project that, once complete, will set up additional consolidations in the future.
“It’s just enough to try and prop us up so we do things more efficiently so we can look to the future,” Loomis said. “It’s going to create, really, a much nicer system for Muskegon.”
At the Hackley Campus, Mercy Health Partners would retain an emergency room, urgent care, OB/GYN, inpatient behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation. Great Lakes Specialty Hospital, a provider of long-term acute care, would also continue to lease space at Hackley.
“We are committed to having a presence at the Hackley Campus,” Loomis said.
Mercy Health Partners filed a letter of intent with the Michigan Department of Community Health this month that offers basics of the project.
The health system would need to secure state certificate-of-need approval to relocate 28 acute-care beds, nine operating rooms and a CT scanner from the Hackley Campus to the Mercy Campus.
A full CON filing would come after Trinity Health approves project plans.