GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health plans to develop two new facilities for rehabilitation and nursing home care in Grand Rapids, plus a third center specializing in outpatient orthopedic surgeries.
The health system plans two new rehab and nursing centers with a total construction budget of $55 million for sites on Leffingwell Avenue south of Leonard Street and on Fuller Avenue two blocks north of Spectrum’s existing Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
The 200 rehab and nursing beds planned between the two locations will replace 250 beds now housed in the aging Kent Community Hospital that Spectrum Health acquired from Kent County in the 1990s.
In planning the projects over several years, Spectrum Health opted to develop two smaller rehab and nursing centers rather than a larger single facility, said Chad Tuttle, Spectrum’s senior vice president for hospital and post acute operations.
“Spectrum Health is absolutely committed to providing the highest quality of care to these patients,” Tuttle said. “The reality is that for nursing homes to provide a home-like environment, size works against you. We realized we can provide an even better experience of care for our patients if we do two smaller facilities as opposed to one large facility.”
Patient areas at Spectrum’s existing Rehab and Nursing Center on Fuller Avenue date back nearly a half-century. The six-story facility was not designed as a nursing home and was converted for that use following Spectrum Health’s acquisition, Tuttle said.
The existing Fuller Avenue facility also has few private rooms and is not easily modified, he said. Once Spectrum Health completes and moves rehab and nursing care to the two new locations, the vacated facility will revert back to Kent County, which owns the land.
“That building has served an incredibly valuable purpose in the county for a very long time. It’s really provided tons of value to the county, but we’re not sure how much more value can be extracted out of the building,” Tuttle said.
The new Leffingwell Avenue facility planned for a 27.4-acre Spectrum Health-owned site will house 80 rehab and nursing beds. The $23 million facility will predominantly treat cardiovascular, orthopedic and neurology patients and feature all private rooms, Tuttle said.
Spectrum Health hopes to begin construction on the Leffingwell site after this winter, targeting occupancy in spring 2022, Tuttle said.
At Fuller and Cedar Street, Spectrum Health will build a second rehab and nursing center that’s still in the design phase. The center will house 132 beds — 120 for rehab and nursing care and 12 for hospice care.
Spectrum Health recently acquired the site in October for $2.5 million from Versiti Michigan Inc., according to property records.
Design work for the new Fuller Avenue facility continues. Progressive AE Inc. is the architect and Christman Co. is the construction manager for both projects.
In a separate development, Spectrum Health plans to build a $17 million outpatient orthopedic surgery center at East Beltline Avenue NE and 3 Mile Road in Grand Rapids Township. The 15,277-square-foot surgical center will rise on property adjacent to Spectrum Health’s Integrated Care Campus and include four operating rooms and one procedure room.
Spectrum Health expects to eventually perform about 5,000 orthopedic procedures annually at the new outpatient surgery center. Through the new center, Spectrum Health plans to transition many of the outpatient orthopedic surgeries and procedures — such as knee and hip joint replacements — now performed at its hospitals into a lower-cost setting, said Spectrum Health West Michigan President Darryl Elmouchi.
Advancements in care, surgical techniques and technology enable care providers to transition more surgeries to an outpatient setting without requiring a hospital stay, a trend that Spectrum Health expects only to grow.
“We feel that the future of orthopedic care is going to be more outpatient and moving procedures that have historically been done in hospital-type settings to outpatient settings,” Elmouchi said. “Our goal is to be a high quality, low cost orthopedic surgery center. The reason for that is when you congregate one service in one spot, you can have much more expertise.”
Spectrum Health primarily does orthopedic surgeries at the Blodgett Hospital campus in East Grand Rapids and an outpatient surgical center on Lake Drive that does multiple types of procedures, plus at most of its regional hospitals. Orthopedic surgeries involving trauma are done at Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids.
The health system will continue to perform orthopedic surgeries in hospital settings for patients who want it done locally, such as at Zeeland Community Hospital in southern Ottawa County or in Ludington.
While Spectrum Health seeks to lower costs everywhere it performs orthopedic surgery, Elmouchi expects health insurers will increasingly encourage and offer incentives for patients to go to outpatient centers such as the one planned for East Beltline, Elmouchi said.
Spectrum Health aims to open the new outpatient orthopedic surgery center in 2022, he said.
While Spectrum Health has no active plans for other outpatient surgical facilities for specific types of procedures, Elmouchi said “it’s definitely a possibility over time.”
“If we do this well and we’re able to make it equally as good, if not better, and lower the cost,” Elmouchi said, “I can definitely envision this in other settings and for other specialties.”