While officials at Allina Health System, Minneapolis, are talking with representatives of Charlotte, N.C.-based MedCath about MedCath's entry into the Twin Cities market, one of Allina's own hospitals has announced plans for a new $19 million heart center.
Allina's 407-bed United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., hopes to open the center by late next year.
The United Heart Center would be a 23,000-square-foot expansion of an existing wing of the hospital. The center is to be connected to the St. Paul Heart Clinic on the United campus, said Joe Loveland, a United spokesman. The clinic is staffed by an independent group of cardiac specialists who practice at United.
Both Loveland and Allina spokeswoman Sarah Stoesz said the new United heart center is unrelated to any talks Allina is having with MedCath, a for-profit chain of boutique heart hospitals. Allina is a not-for-profit health system.
"United Hospital . . . is not going to be able to take care of every single person in the metro area who needs help with their heart," said Stoesz.
She said ongoing talks with MedCath are focusing on the west end of the Twin Cities market, which is Minneapolis.
MedCath has been talking in recent months with Allina and the Minneapolis Heart Institute, which is on the campus of Allina's 588-bed Abbott Northwestern Hospital (Aug. 3, p. 12).
Stoesz said Allina's discussions with MedCath and construction of a new heart center at United aren't competitive goals.
"It's part of our overall integrated strategy," she said.
Money to build United's new heart center will come partly from fund raising.
United is hoping to raise $6.3 million to supplement $12.1 million coming from Allina and $600,000 from the St. Paul Heart Clinic.