New Advocate Aurora hospital combo looks to build in Wisconsin
With the ink barely dry on the merger of Illinois-based Advocate Health Care and Wisconsin-based Aurora Health Care, finalized on April 1, the new Advocate Aurora Health is laying plans to invest in new facilities north of the border.
The not-for-profit Advocate announced plans to build a $250 million, 60-bed hospital and medical office complex on a 96-acre site in Mount Pleasant, just 12 miles from an existing Aurora medical center in Kenosha. Construction is slated to begin later this year and finish up by 2021, hospital officials said.
That comes on top of recent plans hatched pre-merger by Aurora to build a $130 million ambulatory surgery center and doctors offices in Pleasant Prairie as well as a $300 million hospital and surgery center in Kohler, an hour's drive north of Milwaukee, designed to replace an aging hospital in nearby Sheboygan. Both of these projects will follow a construction timeline similar to that of the Mount Pleasant facility. Wisconsin does not require a certificate of need for new healthcare capacity, and thus Advocate expects to encounter few roadblocks as it acquires zoning and other approvals.
The Wisconsin investment amounts to a bet on new growth in the future in southeast Wisconsin. The Mount Pleasant Hospital will be within a couple of miles of the planned $10 billion electronics plant being built by FoxConn Technology Group in rural Racine County, which will create 13,000 new jobs. Other healthcare providers are making similar bets, with ProHealth Care of Wisconsin recently announcing plans for a $55 million, 24-bed hospital in Mukwonago.
"Other corporations like Amazon and Uline are also expanding in southeastern Wisconsin. We think it's going to be a very interesting growth area," said Nick Turkal, Advocate Aurora's president and co-CEO. "This is a logical place for our merged organization to be building."
Dr. Turkal added that the heavy investment would probably not involve new borrowing. With combined revenues of $11.6 billion in 2017 and net income of almost $1.3 billion, Advocate expects to finance the Wisconsin initiatives from its cash flow. "We will consider this a normal part of our capital spending plan," Dr. Turkal said.
"New Advocate Aurora hospital combo looks to build up north" originally appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.
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