Pennock Hospital Board of Trustees Announce Decision to Build a New Hospital and Medical Arts Building

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Pennock Health Services announces plans to build a 49-bed hospital and medical arts building (physician offices and outpatient services) on property owned by Pennock at the corner of M-37 and M-43 in Rutland Township.

Pennock Health Services announces plans to build a 49-bed hospital and medical arts building (physician offices and outpatient services) on property owned by Pennock at the corner of M-37 and M-43 in Rutland Township. Pennock had begun working toward a new hospital in 2007 when the Board of Trustees made the decision to hold on the project for re-evaluation in 2013. They stated current economic instability and the unknown implications of Health Reform as the reason.

The decision to move forward was an outcome of Pennock Health Services 2013-2015 Strategic Plan, where the Board of Trustees appointed a Master Facility Plan (MFP) Taskforce to evaluate options for the facility last year. Nancy Goodin, Trustee and Chair of the MFP Taskforce stated, “The group met for a six month period and reviewed market data, demographic trends and seven facility options. The final decision to build a new hospital and medical arts building on the Ferris site came after much discussion and deliberation. The members of our Master Facility Planning Taskforce included representation from physicians, facility management, administration, the Board of Trustees, and the community. We brought in engineers, to determine the condition of our current facility, studied a demand analysis of both inpatient and outpatient services and reviewed best practice healthcare delivery, identified, and provided by staff. As we studied information on the future of healthcare delivery, it became apparent that providing the best possible healthcare for our community required a new facility that would address a number of needs. In particular, adequate space for surgery to accommodate today’s technology, the expansion of our emergency department, and design elements to allow for seamless and more efficient patient care were top priorities. Finally, we felt it was important to ensure enough space to provide for future service expansion. After months of reviewing data and different options, the Master Facility Planning Taskforce made the recommendation to the Board to move forward with building a new facility at the Ferris site, a property we own and purchased for that purpose.”

The age, condition, and functionality of the current facility all contributed to the decision to build a new hospital and medical arts building on the new site. “The aging facilities, systems, and underlying infrastructure simply did not point to the current facility being a viable alternative going forward,” stated Sheryl Lewis Blake, Pennock Chief Executive Officer. “The cost, time, and inconvenience for our patients and their families would simply be too prohibitive to consider any major renovations at the current location.” The current hospital and medical arts buildings will be demolished or re-developed into a more residential-like enterprise. Pennock noted that there has been great interest from the community to build a hospice house. This is one possible option being entertained; regardless of what services reside on the current site, the Pennock Board of Trustees has pledged to the City of Hastings that the building would not be left vacant or derelict.

Looking at alternative sites to build the facility, the Ferris property at the intersection of M-37 and M-43 was regarded as a strong contender. The property is considered an optimal location for a hospital with easy access, great visibility, and a large enough parcel of land to accommodate a medical arts building, and provide for future expandability. Although the Barry County Jail property was considered, Pennock officials noted that relocation of the hospital would have created another land-locked situation and would have severely limited potential for future growth. Additionally, Barry County officials were unable to commit to a timeframe for acquisition of the jail property or if the property would ever be available for acquisition. Margaret Coleman, Board Chair at Pennock noted, “The Board is looking at the most sustainable way to provide healthcare to our community into the future.”

Current services will transfer to the new location and additional new services, such as oncology and cardiac rehabilitation, will be incorporated into the new hospital’s design. Other possible services will be solidified as the planning process progresses during 2014. “This is a very forward thinking decision,” noted James Horton, D.O., Pennock’s current Chief of Staff. “A new facility designed around state-of-the-art services and modern patient care delivery provides optimum care for our patients. It will also provide a facility and care options that will be a huge draw for healthcare talent we wish to recruit to our area.” The schematic design phase will start in late spring. Once this is complete, there are plans for community review of the project mid-summer of 2014.

Blake also stated, “The project will include moving the hospital onto a new healthcare campus and redesigning care delivery by taking a “population health” approach. Healthcare Reform gave us a unique opportunity to create a state-of-the-art facility designed specifically to address the changes in medical technology while also meeting the future healthcare needs of our community.”

The new campus, including a hospital and medical arts building, will cost roughly $70 million. Land preparation will begin in August 2014 to allow construction to commence in spring of 2015. The project is slated for completion in 2017.

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Janine Dalman
Pennock Health Services
(269) 945-3451
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