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Sunday, 04 August 2013 21:22

Kalamazoo health systems keep focused on Battle Creek

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The Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, which Kalamazoo-based Bronson acquired in 2011, has grown its medical staff from 275 to nearly 400 physicians, mainly by opening up privileges to doctors to practice in Kalamazoo. The Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, which Kalamazoo-based Bronson acquired in 2011, has grown its medical staff from 275 to nearly 400 physicians, mainly by opening up privileges to doctors to practice in Kalamazoo. COURTESY PHOTO

Ongoing projects are solidifying the presence of both Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare Group in Battle Creek, as the two Kalamazoo-based health systems continue to invest in the market.

Two years after acquiring the former Battle Creek Health System, Bronson is in the third phase of a three-phase renovation to the emergency department at the facility and has added clinical services there.

Borgess, meanwhile, is in the midst of developing a $29 million outpatient medical center that will consolidate much of its operations in Battle Creek into a single location and expand capacity.

The 65,000-square-foot Borgess Health Park at Capital Avenue and Beckley Road is targeted to open in mid-2014. The outpatient center will house primary care and specialty physician offices for 10 or more doctors with women’s health and cardiology, radiology (including CT and mobile MRI), diagnostic labs, physical therapy, occupational medicine, a sleep clinic and a pharmacy. Borgess may add bariatric, vascular and general surgery at the outpatient center in the future.

Borgess Health began developing the outpatient center last fall to better serve what Executive Vice President Pat Dyson calls a “fairly significant patient base” in Battle Creek. Ambulatory services in Battle Creek are growing 5 percent to 8 percent annually, depending on the medical service, and about 1,800 patients admitted annually to Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo come from Battle Creek.

Borgess Health Park in Battle Creek “is kind of a natural extension” of the health system’s presence in Battle Creek, where Borgess has a number of physician practices and in 2010 opened a health clinic at Firekeepers Casino.

“It’s building on an established presence (in Battle Creek) and we’re making a stronger commitment to that community,” Dyson said.

So is Bronson Healthcare Group.

Since its 2011 acquisition, Bronson Battle Creek Hospital has grown its medical staff from about 275 to nearly 400 physicians. Much of the increase came from Bronson doctors in Kalamazoo obtaining privileges to practice in Battle Creek.

Battle Creek brought in Bronson’s emergency medicine group to staff its emergency department and added neurosurgery following the retirement of a local neurosurgeon. Bronson also added hours in Battle Creek for its cardiac health medical group.

Work continues to further integrate Bronson into the market and coordinate care with other care providers in Battle Creek to “provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” said Frank Sardone, president and CEO at Bronson Healthcare.

“We’re trying to create good relationships and partnerships and build on that real history of stewardship that the Battle Creek community has had for its health care system. There’s a great deal of pride and ownership in the health care system that Battle Creek has created over the years and we want to continue to enhance that,” Sardone said. “It’s all part of creating a regional system of care for our patients.”

In the emergency department, Battle Creek has lowered the percentage of patients who left prior to being seen by a doctor to about 1.8 percent from more than 5 percent.

Renovations totaling $4 million to the ER have helped, said Anne Regling, interim CEO of Bronson Battle Creek. The hospital did a “refresh” of “tired-looking” exam rooms last year, then expanded to four triage/trauma bays from one, and just completed construction on a new ER entrance, Regling said. Coming up is the expansion of the ER waiting room, she said.

Battle Creek also completed a $1.5 million renovation of the hospital birthing unit. Further renovations are also coming, Regling said.

“Investing in the facility is an ongoing requirement to always stay fresh,” she said.

Away from the hospital campus, two urgent care centers operated by Battle Creek and Bronson prior to the merger were consolidated into a single location.

Read 4701 times Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 13:54

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