Health system plans $220M medical center


A rendering of the $220 million medical center Mercy Health is planning in Muskegon. Courtesy  Progressive AE/HGA

A health care system is planning to consolidate its area operations at a $220 million medical center.

Mercy Health Muskegon revealed yesterday a new plan for a Muskegon medical center, instead of the initial $96.7-million plan it presented last spring.

The medical center will be on the Mercy Campus, at 1500 E. Sherman Blvd.

The center’s estimated completion date is 2018 or 2019.

The plan

Mercy Health said the new proposal will bring all Muskegon-area inpatient services together at a central location and include a greater focus on outpatient services and a new emergency department meant to optimize patient experience and flow.

The proposal is focused on a better patient experience.

The medical center will house a nine-story inpatient tower and new emergency departments on the existing Mercy Campus, which will accommodate outpatient procedures, labor and delivery, pediatrics and surgery.

In addition, extensive renovation of the Mercy Campus will accommodate diagnostics, universal care and inpatient rehab. Services as the Hackley Campus will include urgent care in the current emergency department and inpatient behavioral health.

The project's strategic planning and management was facilitated by Progressive AE, which operates out of Grand Rapids and Muskegon, and Minneapolis-based HGA.

Progressive AE, which has partnered with Mercy Health for a number of years, joined forces with HGA.


Mercy Health hopes to receive approval of the business plan and schematic designs from its parent, Livonia-based CHN Trinity Health, and acquire a certificate of need, or CON, from the Michigan Department of Public Health at the same time.

“During approval stage, we are doing little bits and pieces of design,” said James Roberge, senior director of facilities services at Mercy Health. “We will re-engage in the architecture in a heavy way after the approval. And in a little more than a year from now, we are hoping to break ground.”

Planning process

Incorporating a planning model known as True North, a number of the clinical, medical and support staff have been involved in the planning of the medical center.

The group was broken into interdisciplinary teams and designed floor plans based on what they believed would be most efficient.

“If we could do this with the patient in mind — the speed in delivery of care, less patient movement — what would we do different?” Roberge said.

Roberge said the challenge is providing care in an efficient manner and in an atmosphere that is soothing and healing.

New vision

The changes from the initial plan are attributed to several factors, according to Roberge.

As the Mercy Campus began doubling up patients in rooms as a means of consolidation, turning private rooms into semi-private rooms, staff began raising concerns about the limited space and the difficulty of movement in the cumbersome rooms and hallways.

A second issue that was raised when evaluating the original phased approach dealt with the idea of consolidation. It was discovered that by keeping a presence back at the Hackley Campus and then phasing in wasn’t really a benefit, since eventually everything would have to move.

A third problem concerned the expansion on an aged building structure.

“How is this project going to achieve a 50-year strategy?” said Roberge, recalling a key question raised during the process.

Roberge went on to say if the old building structure ever had to come down, the old plan didn’t take into account separating the new expansion from the original infrastructure.

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