CLEVELAND—Healthcare leaders and local officials celebrated the completion of the Global Center for Health Innovation, a long-planned venue to showcase healthcare technology and ideas. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald told about 400 invited guests to the Oct. 8 ceremony that the $465 million, 1 million square-foot facility “will be a catalyst for economic and community improvement,” according to Crain's Cleveland Business. The Global Center for Health Innovation, built on the Cleveland Convention Center complex, opens to the public in February and this week will host its first event, the Cleveland Clinic's annual medical innovation summit. According to a spokesman, the project is at “80% capacity, by choice, with a long list of international prospects.” The remaining leases are expected to be in place by the time the last phase of construction is finished in the fall 2014, he said. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, one of more than 20 tenants leasing space so far, is opening a 30,000-square-foot HIMSS Innovation Center that occupies the entire fourth floor of the building. The space includes a health information technology simulation center to test the interoperability of health IT products. The county is handing off management of the new center to West Conshohocken, Pa.-based SMG from Chicago's Merchandise Mart Properties, which managed the construction. County leaders first floated the idea in 2007, and the project competed for interest from prospective tenants with similar ventures in Nashville and New York. A year ago, the developer pulled the plug on the Nashville Medical Trade Center, which had secured HIMSS as an anchor tenant but failed to get enough traction to move forward.
Regional News/Midwest: Global Center for Health Innovation opens and other news
MADISON, Wis.—UnityPoint Health, until recently known as Iowa Health, is making its biggest reach so far outside of its former home state. Meriter Health Services agreed to become an affiliate of the West Des Moines-based system. Meriter includes a 301-bed hospital and for-profit Physicians Plus Insurance Corp. “We were fortunate to find in Meriter an integrated health system that could also offer an HMO to our network,” UnityPoint President and CEO Bill Leaver said in a news release. “We see Physicians Plus growing in strength and geographic market coverage over time.” That health plan, however, has been a source of trouble for Meriter. In September, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Meriter's credit rating to A2 from A1 to reflect the insurance plan's “deep operating challenges” that have impinged on the health system's margins and cash flow. PPIC lost $30.1 million in the system's fiscal 2012, ended Dec. 31, and has lost $15.9 million in the first six months of fiscal 2013. Meriter management attributed the challenges to members of the health plan getting routine care at the University of Wisconsin Health Care, and the plan membership has dropped 25% to 86,000 since the plan renegotiated the terms of that contract in 2011, according to the Moody's report. The agreement calls for UnityPoint to assume an ownership stake in the health plan, according to a news release. Meriter Board Chair Virginia Graves said the Madison organization would remain locally run “while also gaining the benefits of a broader regional health system's services, experience and expertise.”
CHICAGO—Construction is underway on a 500,000-square-foot building that will house the college and school of health sciences for Malcolm X community college. The building will be ready for students in January 2016 and have the capacity to accommodate 20,000 students in the program, a 6,000-student increase from the current capacity. City Colleges of Chicago will borrow $250 million in a bond issue to pay for the project, which is part of a $524 million five-year expansion plan for the city's seven community colleges. The building will include a virtual hospital, spaces for sports science and occupational programs, and skill and simulation labs. City officials said they anticipate about 84,000 healthcare jobs to arrive in the Chicago area over the next decade. The facility is in the Illinois Medical District, an area on the city's West Side that includes Rush University Medical Center and University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. Malcolm X's school of health sciences offers basic certificate programs in computer information systems, medical billing and obstetrics and gynecologic technology.
TRENTON, Mich.—Shuttered Riverside Hospital in Trenton will be converted into a medical mall under a proposal by the hospital's owner, Iqbal Nasir, an internal medicine physician. Nasir's proposal, which was approved by the Trenton City Council, calls for the hospital, which had been last operated as a hospital by Henry Ford Health System in 2002, to house physician offices, a pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services, according to a statement by Henry Ford. Construction to convert the hospital into medical offices will start immediately. Nasir, who has an office in Brownstown Township, is also chief of staff of Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton. “I am glad we were able to reach an agreement so that the property can be redeveloped in a manner that will benefit the city of Trenton,” said Denise Brooks-Williams, CEO of Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, in a statement. “We remain committed to being a good neighbor by supporting Trenton and the Downriver communities.” The terms of the agreement prohibit Nasir from using the facility as a hospital, rehabilitation facility or any other use that requires a certificate of need. Henry Ford originally sold the hospital in 2009. The building has been resold three times, finally landing under Nasir's ownership.
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