HOLLAND — Holland Hospital plans to begin work early next year on a $14.5 million expansion of its birthing unit to accommodate more newborn deliveries.
Increased patient volumes in recent years have pushed the Boven Birthing Center to capacity at about 1,800 deliveries annually, driving the need for expansion. As planned, the project would increase the birthing center’s capacity from 2,200 to 2,400 deliveries per year, said Kathy Nania, Holland Hospital’s director of inpatient nursing and the Boven Birthing Center.
“We’re quite crowded,” Nania said. “Our numbers are steadily on the incline.”
In a certificate-of-need application filed in May with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Holland Hospital proposed to expand the birthing unit renovating 22,713 square feet of existing space and 10,213 square feet of vacant former lab space, plus building 1,000 square feet of new space.
Pending CON approval, Holland Hospital wants to start construction in January and targets occupancy for September 2020, according to the application to the state. Construction will occur in three phases.
The project will improve unit security and includes eight new labor and delivery rooms and a new nursery for the 21-bed Boven Birthing Center.
Holland Hospital built the Boven Birthing Center in 1990. The center is the oldest inpatient unit at the hospital and has undergone a number of “minor facelifts to keep it up to date” over those 27 years, Nania said.
In addition to adding space, the birthing center is changing its care model with the addition of a second operating room for C-sections and three triage units, as well as creating nine postpartum rooms to transfer new mothers after delivery rather than keeping them in the same room during their hospital stay. Postpartum rooms feature a design more conducive for patients, fathers and visitors, and will allow the hospital to better accommodate patient flow, Nania said.
The hospital frequently has to move birthing-unit patients after delivery “because we don’t have the right room for them,” she said.
“So for example, we’ll have a patient that is in labor and has delivered and is spending the postpartum stay in a labor-delivery room and that kind of ties up that room for new patients coming in,” Nania said. “We will just have a much more flexible, adaptable environment where we’ll have the right room for the patient and the patient’s individual needs at the time.”
Newborn deliveries at Holland Hospital have grown steadily in the last five years from about 1,600 in 2012 to 1,807 in 2016. Part of the increase lately came from the decision by former South Haven Health System, which became part of Bronson Healthcare Group in January, to discontinue obstetrical service, citing declining patient volumes and costs. That led to Holland Hospital picking up 120 to 130 deliveries a year from South Haven, located about 30 minutes to the south, Nania said.