Mercy Health plans medical center, service site consolidation in Muskegon, Mich.

March 15, 2014


Mercy Health is pursuing approvals for a $220 million medical center on its Mercy Campus in Muskegon, Mich. The project, estimated for completion in 2018 or 2019, would consolidate acute care services currently provided on three area campuses into one location, according to system leadership.

Mercy Health has three campuses within about 3 miles of each other in Muskegon: they're known as the Hackley Campus, the General Campus and the Mercy Campus. Under a proposal unveiled Feb. 19, the system wants to construct a nine-story inpatient tower and new emergency department on the southwest section of the Mercy Campus to accommodate all outpatient procedures, labor and delivery, pediatrics, surgery, medical/surgery admissions and emergency care. Most of the existing Mercy Campus will be rebuilt for diagnostics, inpatient rehabilitation and to accommodate universal care, a new model of acute care delivery.

Mercy Health Muskegon President Greg Loomis said the universal care model involves building rooms that can serve many different functions. These spaces won't necessarily be assigned for use by a particular department, instead they could be used to prepare patients for many types of procedures and for post-procedure recovery. Most procedures will still be done in dedicated spaces equipped to serve that function. But, "whenever possible, we are bringing services to the patient. The rooms are interchangeable, and we'll bring the equipment as needed for that service," Loomis said.

Mercy Health currently has 407 beds on the Mercy and Hackley campuses. Under the new plan, that will shift. The Mercy Campus is planning for a bed count of 264. The system plans 234 private rooms on the Mercy Campus after the construction. Thirty of those will be able to be configured to semi-private rooms, to accommodate the additional 30 beds when patient loads necessitate increased inpatient capacity. Hackley's emergency department will transition to provide urgent care, though system leadership cannot yet provide the exact timing for that change. At the Hackley Campus, where there are currently 121 medical/surgical beds and 27 beds for behavioral health, the behavioral health beds will remain as will the space for diagnostics, primary care and medical offices, but the inpatient medical/surgical service will be closed, Loomis explained.

The General Campus currently provides laboratory services for the Mercy Campus, Hackley Campus and physician offices in the system. It also has urgent care and a sleep clinic. The General Campus will be vacated after the laboratory services are moved to the new Mercy Campus medical center. It hasn't been determined where the sleep clinic will be located. Mercy Health plans to open a new urgent care facility to serve that neighborhood's population.

Loomis said the planned construction and reconfiguring should allow Mercy Health to "right size" its hospital facilities for greater efficiency. He said inpatient admissions have been declining, while there's more demand for outpatient services, and space to provide them. There's also increased demand for single-occupancy rooms from patients; and semi-private rooms can become too cluttered, in part due to the computers and equipment used by doctors and nurses to provide care, he explained.

In the spring of 2013, Mercy Health proposed a $96.7 million plan for expansion and relocation of services in Muskegon. Loomis said at the time the thinking was that services could be moved to the Mercy Campus in two phases over several years. Over time, it became clear that wasn't the best approach. The system decided on a more transformative step, leadership said in a statement.

The system embarked on a planning process called True North. "We became aware that we could do so much more if we don't just consider this a building program, but a way to change the way we think about how we do the work in those buildings," Loomis said. In September and December of 2013, two groups of about 150 Mercy Health colleagues from different departments gathered at meetings facilitated by architects, efficiency consultants and the system's "process excellence" team. Staff talked about their work spaces, and how design could support patient-centered care and help them to do their jobs more efficiently.

The project, including the specifics of the business plan for funding, is still in the planning phase. It would require approvals from the local board of trustees and Michigan's certificate of need commission. Mercy Health is part of Livonia, Mich.-based CHE Trinity Health, so approval from the CHE Trinity board is also needed, Loomis said.

Loomis said the consolidation of services includes a desire to be more efficient in staffing, but added with the ongoing shift from acute to ambulatory care, he does not yet know where jobs might be taken away or added.

Mercy Health serves West Michigan and the lakeshore with five hospital campuses, more than 1,300 medical staff physicians, more than 800 hospital beds, as well as providing hospice, home health and long-term care.


Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.