CEO Report: Improving Hospital Infrastructure

Posted on April 02, 2018

Brian Peters MHA RoundsThe first quarter of calendar year 2018 is now in the books. Over the weekend, many of us celebrated Easter Sunday or the beginning of Passover. As March Madness winds down, Wolverine fans are excited about their shot at a basketball national championship later this evening, and all Michiganders are ready to celebrate the arrival of springtime and warmer weather.

As I drive around the state visiting our members and scan the headlines from numerous media outlets, two things are readily apparent this spring: first, Michigan roads are crumbling. From a completely nonscientific basis, the potholes seem worse than ever. And second, hospitals continue to position themselves for the future through their strategic growth — growth that is good for patients and good for the economy.

Here in our “home town” of Lansing, Sparrow Hospital recently opened a beautiful new cancer center, the result of a major construction project just down Michigan Avenue from the State Capitol building, while McLaren announced plans for the construction of a new hospital adjacent to the Michigan State University campus. Our current MHA Board Chairman Loren Hamel, MD, is overseeing the construction of a major new medical pavilion on Lakeland Health’s St. Joseph campus. Later this month at the Upper Peninsula Hospital Council’s annual trustee forum, I will look forward to seeing firsthand the construction progress at the all-new UP Health System Marquette hospital, one of the largest such projects in that city’s history.

In every corner of the state and throughout our membership, a similar story can be told. New hospitals, new outpatient facilities, expanded emergency rooms, expanded patient towers, new parking decks and cafeterias, and much more.

Michigan is aging rapidly as the eldest Baby Boomers are already in their early 70s. At the same time, public health data continues to show that, relative to the rest of the nation, Michiganders suffer from chronic disease at an alarming rate. These factors will naturally create increased demand for all manner of healthcare services into the future, but there is more to the story: hospital and health system leaders are responding to patient demands for access to health services that are more convenient in every way, that facilitates the latest diagnostic and interventional technology, that assures the best possible infection control, and enhances the total experience of care — from better parking to better food to maximal privacy, and more. Leaders are also responding to the desires of physicians, nurses and all healthcare employees to work in an environment that assures all of these same things, as well as their physical and psychological safety.

There is another element at play. As an MHA intern back in the early 1990s, I was privileged to join a cadre of Michigan hospital leaders on a trip to London to study the British health system. I will never forget a site visit to one of the largest, most prestigious hospitals in London. As our group debriefed over dinner that evening, the discussion turned quickly to which federal or state regulatory agency would shut down the hospital first, if it could be magically transported, intact, back to Michigan. “Our Fire Marshall would evacuate the entire place and wrap it in tape before lunch” was offered by one of our contingent’s CEOs. While there was disagreement over that level of detail, there was absolute consensus that the hospital wouldn’t survive the week. The bottom line: all of our buildings — but especially our healthcare facilities — absolutely must be kept to modern safety standards (the overburden of some regulatory structures is a subject for another day).

Hospitals are physical environments that are in use 24/7/365 and must always be ready for the unexpected, whether that is a major flu outbreak, a weather-related catastrophe, or a man-made mass casualty event. It’s where our babies are delivered, our auto accident victims receive lifesaving care, and our family patriarchs and matriarchs receive new hips and knees to maintain their mobility.

Hospital construction projects are motivated by a sound rationale; but as it turns out, ensuring the continued viability of our hospitals is good for the Michigan economy as well. Last week, the MHA was pleased to once again partner with the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Osteopathic Association to release the new Economic Impact of Healthcare Report, which documents how healthcare provided more than 603,000 direct jobs in Michigan in 2016, nearly 240,000 by hospitals alone. The report’s dashboard provides statewide data and breaks it down by region, county and congressional district. This interactive tool allows information to be viewed and printed for one county, region or congressional district. I invite you to view this terrific new report at

At the MHA, we are always proud when we see a new project underway at one of our member facilities — because we understand what is behind the project and what it means for the people it will ultimately serve. It is that “space within” that means so very much. 


  • CEO Report: Improving Hospital Infrastructure

Tags: Brian Peters, Economic Impact Report, CEO Report

Posted in: MHA Rounds

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