LANSING, Mich. — The Sparrow Health System will be making a big investment in mid-Michigan.
The board of directors has approved an $800 million plan to build new facilities and make upgrades to existing ones.
"This improves both the access for our community and also the experience they received when they are at Sparrow," said President and CEO James Dover. "Whether they are in an emergency room, whether they are in an inpatient setting, ambulatory clinic or virtual,"
Dover says two-and-a-half years ago, they sat down with staff and physicians to figure out the best way to reinvest.
The plan they came up with includes using $350 million to build a five-story patient tower at Sparrow Hospital with 112 rooms, which expected to help reduce wait times in the emergency department, keep the labor and delivery unit on the same floor and limit the need to move patients around.
"We move patients about 15,000 times a year just between rooms to match up male-female, infectious disease and those sorts of things," Dover said.
The plan also includes new investments in Sparrow's community hospitals, new ambulance sites, expanding the emergency department and $20 million dollars for a free-standing emergency department in Okemos.
"We figure it could shave off a good hour and a half off of wait time in what we call door to depart. So from the minute, you hit the door to the time you depart. We believe we can shave a good 90 minutes off of it by both the emergency room expansion and also with our free-standing emergency room in Okemos," Dover said.
Bob Trezise is the president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. He says the investment will help the region continue to build a medical technology and healthcare sector.
"Creating jobs, creating new investments, allowing an agency like LEAP to successfully recruit more and more med tech-related companies with those jobs to our community," Trezise said. "It continues our vision for Michigan Avenue. We think Michigan Avenue is the backbone of the region. This is one of the very few corridors in all of America that, on one end, a few miles down, connects the state Capitol and a great downtown Lansing with a great downtown East Lansing and one of the major universities in the world, Michigan State University."
The plan also includes ongoing projects like the $40 million outpatient surgical center on Michigan Avenue.
Barbara LeRoy has been living in the area for 17 years. She was born at Sparrow Hospital in 1929 and her house sits across from where the new outpatient surgical center will be built.
"It was a very small hospital in 1929. This was all houses around there then. A lot of houses none of this. It was like the country everywhere. I came from Willow Street and that was all country out there. It isn't anymore,"LeRoy said.
She says, as time goes on she just sits and watches things grow around the city. She doesn't know how things will turn out but she says she'll be sitting on her porch watching it all happen.
"It's interesting to watch things happen like that so I hope it turns out all right."
Sparrow expects to make the plan a reality over the next six years.
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