It’s troubling to see
The structure will lie in a 30-acre “medical park” in
Hackley’s announcement says the medical park ties to its strategic plan to “offer greater access for our patients.” It adds that the site is “in the hub of a growing population in southern
Finally, we’re not talking Doctors Without Borders here.
The “region” that the medical park would serve “for physicians to get closer to their patients” is not underserved. In fact, Norton Shores and its cheek-by-jowl Ottawa County municipalities — Fruitport and Spring Lake Townships and Ferrysburg — are where most of the area’s physicians, med techs and hospital administrators reside, nestled among many of their own patients.
Hackley’s claim about getting physicians closer to their patients is doubly phony. Patients go to doctors, not vice versa. Too, doctors direct patients where to get testing.
To be sure, some doctors may pay the premium to leave Hackley’s office building and build offices at
. The move may save them six miles in their daily commute. For some patients, driving to the medical park may be more convenient — by a matter of five minutes — though they’ll find Lakes Mall traffic far heavier than anything near
Take away all the announcement’s fluff and it’s clear that Hackley simply stamped its footprint near the
It is a strategic business decision, all right, but has nothing to do with giving doctors access to patients. If these hospitals were freely competing businesses, we’d have no comment. The price of duplication in this case has no punitive financial consequences as it would for any other type of business. The consumer pays the price.
The medical facility will cost far more than $8 million when the prices of duplicated real estate, furnishings and state-of-the-art equipment are included. And at the end of the day, inelastic demand forces patients to pay those costs in the form of higher deductibles, higher co-pays, higher shares of higher employer insurance premiums, and consequently lower salaries and wages.
Hackley’s decision is exactly the mindset that keeps health-care costs rising out of control.