Regents to vote on ambulatory care expansion at the ‘U’

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 4:33pm

The University of Michigan Health System is looking to expand its reach with a proposed ambulatory surgical center in Brighton, Mich.

The University’s Board of Regents will review an action request on Thursday seeking approval to build Brighton Health Center South. The ambulatory surgical center would provide a variety of services, including pediatric and adult special care, radiation oncology, a comprehensive musculoskeletal center, operating rooms and a pharmacy, among others.

Marschall Runge, executive vice president for medical affairs who also serves as the chief executive officer of UMHS, and Kevin Hegarty, the University’s chief financial officer, submitted the request, which estimates the project will cost about $175 million.

“In order to improve patient access to ambulatory care services, UMHS is both actively improving throughput within existing facilities and seeking to expand its capacity,” Runge and Hegarty wrote in the action request.

Representatives from UMHS declined to discuss the project until after the regents vote on Thursday.

The request for a new ambulatory surgical center comes in a period of ambulatory care expansion in the United States. These centers perform many of the same surgeries as hospitals but on a strictly outpatient basis. About 65 percent of surgeries in the United States took place in an ambulatory surgical center in 2012, up from 54 percent in 1992.

"Ambulatory Care activity within the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has risen steadily over time and is now nearing two million visits per year,” Runge and Hegarty wrote.

UMHS already has two health clinics in Brighton: a 6,200-square-foot ophthalmology clinic and a 41,500-square-foot ambulatory clinic. Both of these are leased from outside companies. The proposed University-owned clinic would eclipse the two other buildings at 320,000 square feet. It is unclear what will happen to the other clinics if the board approves the new building, which is to be built on University land off of Challis Road.

The action request recommends HKS Architects be awarded the contract to design the new building. HKS Architects has worked with the University before, designing the C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

If the board approves the project, UMHS will have to apply for a Certificate of Need from the State of Michigan Department of Community Health, a process that takes months to complete.

“Certificate of Need (CON) is a state regulatory program intended to balance cost, quality and access issues, and ensure that only needed services are developed in Michigan,” the department’s website says.

UMHS has health centers in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Chelsea, Dexter, Howell, Northville, Saline and Ypsilanti. Brighton Health Center South would be located about 30 miles away from the main UMHS campus in Ann Arbor.