Marshfield Clinic plans $175 million 'hospital of the future' in MA

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Marshfield Clinic officials are developing plans to build a cutting-edge $175 million-plus health care facility in Marshfield.

The plan — pending approval of the Marshfield Clinic board of directors — would involve constructing a tertiary care site relatively close to the current Marshfield Clinic location in the city, with ground-breaking possible in about a year, said Dr. Narayana Murali, Marshfield Clinic executive director.

Clinic representatives met with several community business leaders and city officials Thursday night to describe and discuss the pending plans for the specialized care facility.

"Obviously, this would be a big change, but ultimately, the goal here is to provide more low-cost and innovative health care, which is very positive for the community," said Mayor Chris Meyer.

As part of the project, Marshfield Clinic aims to focus on offering affordable health care that incorporates state-of-the-art technology, said Dr. Susan Turney, Marshfield Clinic CEO.

"We are trying to create the hospital of the future that will best meet our patients' needs. We know health care costs are increasing, that patients can't afford the cost to get the care that they need," Turney said.

The new facility would bring additional health care jobs to the community, but the number and specific types of jobs aren't known at this point because planning is continuing, Turney said.

The Marshfield Clinic system completed a recent round of layoffs, which equaled 1 to 2 percent of the total clinic workforce. Most of the jobs were management positions, according to a company announcement in May 2014.

Plans for the proposed facility will be developed in six to seven months, and the cost to build could exceed $175 million, Murali said.

The status of Ministry Saint Joesph's Hospital, currently the city's lone hospital, could be a concern, Meyer said.

"The biggest question is what could it mean for Saint Joe's," Meyer said, because the hospital component of the proposed new facility would be about one-third the size of Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital.

Marshfield Clinic leaders want to continue to have a working relationship with Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital, Murali said.

Whether the Marshfield Clinic would partner with another health care provider on this new facility or move ahead independently must be decided. Ministry would be considered a potential partner, Murali said.

Overall, local business leaders are supportive of the Marshfield Clinic's plan, said Terry Frankland, president of V&H Trucks, who was at Thursday's meeting.

"It was a positive meeting. The Clinic is looking at its options and this is a plan," Frankland said.

The trend in medical care is to hospitalize only critically ill or injured patients with many people being treated as outpatients and recovering in the home setting, Murali said. Many procedures and surgeries can be completed in ambulatory centers or a doctor's office, he said.

"The footprint of this doesn't need to be large," Murali said.

Medical care is transforming rapidly, Turney said.

"We have virtual health capabilities, new medicines, technology and innovations in health care that we can create a better delivery system to give patients the care that they need in an affordable way," Turney said.


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