Heart Center A Corridor Foundation?

November 15, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health's new $137 million heart hospital represents the newest addition to the developing health-care corridor on downtown Grand Rapids' northeast side.

The Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center, in addition to elevating Spectrum Health's cardiac care to new heights, further transforms the Michigan Street corridor into what Richard DeVos, a member of the Spectrum Health board of dDirectors and a long-time benefactor, termed a health-care "powerhouse" that consists of medical, research and education components.

"It's all in place. It's all lined up," DeVos said during this month's dedication of the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center. "Together this is going to be a powerhouse. You're going to drive through a tunnel of health when you come up here."

Spectrum Health opens the nine-story, 164-bed Meijer Heart Center on Nov. 29, consolidating all of its cardiac care into a single location on the Butterworth Campus, which sits within a corridor that consists of Grand Valley State University's Cook Center for Health Sciences, the Van Andel Institute and an assortment of other medical-related facilities.

The health system continues to plan for the development of a new children's hospital and cancer center within the next five to seven years. DeVos and others envision Michigan Street filling up with those and additional developments that will house physicians offices and outpatient centers, further enhancing the city's clinical base.

"We will build on this," said Fred Meijer, who provided the lead donation to a public capital campaign for the heart center.

The heart center will not only add to the health-care base developing on Michigan Street but enable Spectrum Health, already ranked one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in the United States, to raise its cardiac care and research to an even higher level.

The heart center, built to accommodate a growing demand for cardiac care and consolidate heart services into a single comprehensive setting at the Butterworth Campus, can help Spectrum Health to recruit top physicians in cardiac care who can elevate the program further, Meijer said.

"It's not only the physical facilities but the people who are going to staff those facilities that are going to make them greater and greater and greater," he said. "That's when good attracts more good."

Spectrum Health raised nearly $34 million from some 3,000 individual donors to help finance the Meijer Heart Center, which will serve 13,000 cardiac patients annually, performing 9,000 catheterization procedures and 1,300 open-heart surgeries. Spectrum Health's cardiac patient volumes have grown 26 percent in five years and are projected to increase another 28 percent in the next decade with a 13-county service area.

The heart center is equipped with the latest medical technology and designed to provide a greater continuity of care by keeping a patient in the same room for all or most of a stay, as well as promote comfort and convenience for families.

"This is going to allow us to do (cardiac care) better and more efficiently and I think provide a better experience for the patient," said Dr. Richard McNamara, Spectrum Health's chief of cardiology.

"This building allows us to do what we know we can do," he said. "This is the start. This is the foundation we're going to build on."    

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