Spectrum Health rides building boom


Spectrum Health’s physical presence is evident throughout West Michigan. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Ever since the merger of Butterworth Health System and Blodgett Memorial Medical Center two decades ago, a union that eventually would beget the region’s largest employer, Spectrum Health System has been synonymous with West Michigan’s status as a health care destination.

While Spectrum’s role as a community health provider is clearly evident — Spectrum logged more than 3 million physician-patient encounters in fiscal year 2017 — it also has played an integral part in the region’s astronomical economic growth in that time. In just the past five years, Spectrum has poured more than $160 million in construction costs alone into new builds and expansions, including the health system’s soon-to-be seven integrated care campuses.

That number does not include the number of full-time jobs created and consequent salary expenses, and does not necessarily include real estate costs. Nor does it include earlier projects like the $286-million, 212-bed Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital completed in 2011; the $225-million, four-building RDV/Christman Michigan Street Development in 2011; or the $98-million, 158,000-square-foot expansion of Blodgett in 2010.

“We’re not just a health system that sits here waiting around, we need to be mindful of what our responsibility is to communities in terms of infrastructure,” Spectrum Health Medical Group Chief Medical Officer Douglas Apple said. “Just like you have roads and schools and places you can shop, you also need to also have places you can receive health care.”

In 2017, the umbrella of Spectrum Health covers 13 West Michigan counties and comprises 12 hospitals, seven urgent care centers, six ICCs and 190 ambulatory sites. It is the region’s largest employer with more than 25,000 staff members, including 3,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, 1,600 of which are directly part of Spectrum Health Medical Group.

The six existing ICCs and seventh campus under construction make up about $115.3 million of those facilities investments, spreading Spectrum’s reach throughout the West Michigan community. Campuses currently exist in Rockford, North Muskegon, Ionia and Holland with locations on the East Beltline and the Medical Mile. The seventh campus in Ada is expected to be completed in 2018.

“What we have tried to do with our ICCs is to have primary care specialists at a site — and depending on the needs of the surrounding community put in even specialists — to accommodate what that health care need might be,” Apple said. “Whether it’s a large or small community, we know that the advanced practice providers are a high need in virtually any area across this region.

“We’re trying to move our specialists into the communities to serve patients where they reside and area residents would be more willing to go to the facilities near their homes in those metro areas.”

Apple said in some cases it’s too early to tell how the ICCs have been received by local residents, but for those that have been established for several years, patient numbers at those locations have shown they have been of service to patients who otherwise might have had to travel to other locations.

In addition to its substantial building costs, Spectrum also spent more than $326 million on community benefit programs in FY 2016 and will spend $372 million in 2017. That includes programs like Strong Beginnings and Healthier Communities, which contribute to West Michigan’s overall health.

“Every decision in the evolution of Spectrum Health has been undertaken with one key question in mind: What is the best way to meet the health needs of our community?” Spectrum Health Chief Operating Officer Tina Freese Decker said in a written statement. “This is the essence of our mission and vision as we work to improve access to care, to keep services as close to home as possible and connect people to a broad range of resources through our system, from health insurance to clinical programs.

“Our health system has grown strategically to offer health and wellness resources greater than the sum of its parts.”

Building by the numbers

Integrated Care Campuses

Scheduled for 2018: Ada Integrated Care Campus, 24,400 square feet, two-story facility: $9.9M

August 2017: Rockford ICC, two stories, 30,000 square feet: $13M

June 2017: Medical Mile ICC, 35,500-square-foot renovation: $9.1M

December 2016: North Muskegon ICC, single story, 30,000 square feet: $13.8M

June 2016: Ionia ICC, 11,500 square feet: $5.8M

July 2014: East Beltline ICC, three stories, 120,000 square feet: $48M

April 2012: Holland ICC, two stories, 58,000 square feet: $15.7M

Other Significant Recent Building/Expansion Projects

2017: Select Specialty Hospital – Spectrum Health (joint partnership with Select): $3.55M (Spectrum’s contribution)

2017: Jacob and Lois Mol Cardiovascular Simulation Center: $2.65M

2016: Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Center addition: $26.47M

2014: 9,000-square-foot Basic and Translational Research Laboratory, 1345 Monroe Ave. NW: $2.65M

2012: Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital expansion: $8.9M

Source: Spectrum Health System

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