Systems adding beds to burbs
* Two Detroit-area hospital systems are planning to boost inpatient capacity in the western suburbs, moving existing beds from Detroit and two nearby towns despite a lawsuit that could halt the relocation. Six-hospital Henry Ford Health System in Detroit will break ground by the end of the year on a $250 million hospital in West Bloomfield, Mich., transferring 300 beds from its flagship Detroit facility, 650-bed Henry Ford Hospital. The West Bloomfield hospital is expected to open at the end of 2006. Meanwhile, nine-hospital St. John Health, Warren, Mich., plans to start work next year on a $150 million expansion project in Novi, Mich., adding 200 beds to an existing facility that currently houses outpatient services. Beds will come from 459-bed Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Mich., and 261-bed St. John Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights, Mich., both about 20 miles outside of Detroit. St. John is part of St. Louis-based Ascension Health. An amendment passed last December allows hospital systems to bypass state certificate-of-need laws when moving existing beds to a new facility. In mid-June, however, a lawsuit was filed by a coalition of local hospitals seeking to block expansion into western Oakland County.
L.A. project under way
* The Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center broke ground in April on a $497.8 million replacement facility in Los Angeles. The 600-bed 1.5 million-square-foot hospital with seismic upgrades and new technology will include a seven-story outpatient center, eight-story inpatient tower and five-story diagnostic and treatment center. After the facility suffered extensive damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, L.A. County secured more than $400 million in federal and state disaster aid to rebuild the hospital. The rest of the costs will be financed through a bond issue. The project, scheduled for completion in 2007, is a joint venture of McCarthy Building Cos., St. Louis; Clark Construction Group, Bethesda, Md.; and Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Boston hospital to get new ER
* Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston has received a $5 million gift to build a new emergency department. The William F. Connell Emergency Department will house a collaborative education program with the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, in which nurses-in-training can gain experience in emergency and urgent-care services. After plans for the facility are completed, the medical center will call for a public review process to begin in the next six to 10 months. William Connell served on the board of trustees at Caritas from 1972 to 1979. Caritas is a major academic medical center affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
11 buildings acquired
* The Chicago-based Lillibridge Health Trust, a national healthcare real estate investment firm, acquired 11 medical office buildings totaling about 722,000 square feet of space from St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis. The price was not revealed, but one local report noted that office space in the Indianapolis area is generally worth about $100 per square foot. St. Vincent, which will continue to own the land through a long-term ground lease, will use the cash from the deal for technology, equipment, programs and services, officials said. Privately owned Lillibridge owns or manages more than 8.5 million square feet of outpatient facilities.
Denver site to expand
* Children's Hospital in Denver will build a $300 million facility on its Fitzsimons campus in suburban Aurora, Colo. The 250-bed hospital, which will break ground later this year, is scheduled for completion in 2007. The 1.2 million-square-foot project includes 170,000 square feet of medical office space and room for a 1,300-car garage. The project is a joint venture by Gerald H. Phipps, Denver, and McCarthy Building Cos., St. Louis.