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UM plans $920 million hospital for patients needing the most complicated care

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor —  The University of Michigan — home to three hospitals, 125 clinics and home care operations serving more than 2.3 million people annually — will open an innovative $920 million medical center for patients needing the most complicated care.

The Board of Regents approved plans Thursday for the 12-story, $920 million adult in-patient hospital that's expected to "transform inpatient and surgical care" and move UM's health care services into the future.

The new hospital, scheduled to be opened in fall 2024, will offer high-level specialty care for patients with conditions affecting the brain, heart and spine, among others.

The new 12-story hospital will house 264 private rooms capable of converting to intensive care, a state-of-the-art neurological and neurosurgical center, high-level, specialty care services for cardiovascular and thoracic patients, along with advanced imaging.

It will include 264 private rooms capable of converting to intensive care along with a state-of-the-art neurological and neurosurgical center, specialty care services for cardiovascular and thoracic patients, and advanced imaging. Officials say the facility will allow health care providers to quickly respond to complex cases.

"The addition is crucial for our state, our university and the millions of people who rely on us for quality, advanced health care," UM President Mark Schlissel said. "(It will) increase access to the world class care that we provide."

The new facility will be funded with resources from UM's health care center, Michigan Medicine, along with a philanthropic campaign. 

The project comes as UM's hospitals operate at 90% capacity. The university has spent nearly $35 million studying how to provide better access for adults needing care, university officials said.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of innovation with a new hospital that will support the extraordinary work of our faculty, nurses and other providers and our research community,” said Dr. Marschall Runge, executive vice president of medical affairs for UM, CEO of Michigan Medicine and dean of the UM Medical School. “It’s an investment in Michigan Medicine’s mission of advancing health to serve Michigan and the world.”

The new clinical inpatient tower, with 690,000 square feet, will be built at Ann Street and Zina Pitcher, west of UM's current adult hospital.

UM President Mark Schlissel

Schlissel introduced a motion and the regents unanimously approved the budget, schematic design and authorization to proceed with construction. Groundbreaking is expected in October. 

The new hospital will be the most advanced such facility in Michigan, Regent Ron Weiser told his colleagues before the vote.

"This truly is a remarkable and historic day," he said.

Dr. Shauna Diggs, chair of the Board of Regents' health committee, said the new hospital will provide better highly specialized care for patients. She said the project has been under discussion for years.

“This hospital will not only help us meet our community’s future health care needs, it will be a greater resource for other hospitals across the state, and further support and enable UM health care providers to do their very best work,” said Diggs.

UM's current adult medical center, University Hospital, is an 11-story, 550-bed facility that opened in 1986.

“The new adult inpatient hospital will allow the relocation of 110 beds currently in semi-private rooms at University Hospital to the new hospital," said Dr. David Spahlinger, president of the University of Michigan Health System. "As a result, all Michigan Medicine inpatient beds will be single private rooms.

“Private rooms are important for the quality of our patient and family member experience, and is a proven factor in reducing hospital-acquired infections.”

After construction of the new rooms and relocation of the existing beds, the project will add a total of 154 new beds to the medical campus.

Tony Denton, chief operating officer of the UM Health System, said the new facility is for patients, but also for future physicians that the university is training.

“It (is) intended to improve access and capacity for our health care, to create new place of learning for our students,” Denton said. 

He added that it is also needed as the population is aging.

“There is a demand for higher, complex care, and its expensive investment to provide this kind of complex care,” Denton said. “Complex, high-acuity care is part of our niche, it’s part of the expertise provided by our faculty and nurses, and we believe that is a space that we need to occupy because we do it so well."