Milwaukee, Wis. — High quality care in an inviting, streamlined setting close to home when sudden medical needs arise. That’s the idea behind an innovative neighborhood hospital being introduced by the Froedtert & MCW health network to help ease capacity constraints at its existing hospitals. It will be the first such hospital in Wisconsin.
The small-scale neighborhood hospital will offer easy, around-the-clock access to emergency and inpatient care in a highly efficient setting, near where people live and work. Just 17,000 square feet in size, the neighborhood hospital will have a seven-bed emergency department and eight inpatient beds for patients requiring additional care, observation and tests. The facility, which also will have laboratory, pharmacy and imaging services, is designed to treat medical emergencies that require attention beyond an urgent care clinic’s capability.
“Our hospitals continue to experience extremely high occupancy rates, particularly at the academic medical center campus, and there’s no indication that trend will change any time soon,” said Cathy Jacobson, president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Health. “We see the neighborhood hospital as a way to keep care close to home and free up beds, particularly at Froedtert Hospital. It’s part of a broader plan to address our capacity constraints by expanding access points and offering care options that meet people where they are.”
Jacobson said Froedtert Hospital’s occupancy rate often exceeds 85 percent, one of the highest in the state, and its emergency department is among the region’s busiest. She said the neighborhood hospital’s smaller size simplifies access and the availability of inpatient beds assures appropriate, local care while reducing the need to treat patients at other Froedtert & MCW hospitals.
Medical College of Wisconsin emergency physicians as well as experienced registered nurses will staff the neighborhood hospital. It will be a licensed, accredited acute-care hospital; it will be part of the Froedtert & MCW health network, follow its care and quality protocols and be connected to its electronic health records system to assure coordination of care.
According to Jacobson, after exploring possible sites for a neighborhood hospital, a parcel of vacant land on north Port Washington Road in Mequon was selected. Situated directly across the street from the Froedtert & MCW Mequon Health Center, 11430 N. Port Washington Road, the neighborhood hospital will complement many of the health center’s services, such as urgent care, orthopedics and spine care, Jacobson said.
“We care for many patients from the Mequon area at our hospitals, so it makes sense to provide emergency and inpatient services that are closer to home,” Jacobson said. On average over the past five years, a dozen patients per day have traveled from Mequon to Froedtert Hospital for emergency or hospital care, she said.
“Changing the hospital model is part of the necessary process of creating the health system of the future,” Jacobson said. “We continue to explore how we can improve access to care, including bringing services to people where they are. Creating an integrated care delivery network includes making the best use of resources to meet patients’ needs and providing care in the consumer-friendly ways they expect. The neighborhood hospital is part of that effort.”If approved, construction of the Mequon neighborhood hospital will begin in late 2018 with a projected opening in late 2019 or early 2020. Ryan Companies Wisconsin is the construction manager; Froedtert Health will lease the building.