Township green lights integrated care campus
A township in the region approved last night the plans for a new 120,000-square-foot integrated care campus, which is opposed by the local health system and part of the community.
Grand Haven Charter Township trustees approved the joint venture between Spectrum Health, a Grand Rapids-based health system, and Holland Hospital, an independent lakeshore hospital, known as Health Pointe.
Health Pointe will offer a range of services: internal medicine; pediatrics and family medicine; urgent care; medical and surgical sub-specialties; MRI, CT and X-Ray services; a laboratory; and an ambulatory surgery center.
Health Pointe also announced this week it has been granted Certificate of Need approval from the state of Michigan for one procedure OR room in the facility.
The integrated care campus will be located at 172nd Ave., just north of a Meijer, in Grand Haven Charter Township.
Construction on Health Pointe is expected to begin this summer, with a grand opening planned for fall 2017.
The project had been recommended for approval by the Grand Haven Charter Township Planning Commission, but it has been hotly contested by several community members and leadership from North Ottawa Community Health System, or NOCHS, since details of the project began filtering out last fall.
Opposition has included concerns over the building’s height and whether it is a permissible use under township zoning law, potential impacts on traffic in the area, particularly along the already busy Robbins Road corridor, expectations that the facility will seek tax-exempt status upon opening and that it will provide duplicate services that could have a negative financial impact on North Ottawa Community Health System.
Health Pointe developers had been instructed by the township trustees during the March 14 board meeting to make changes to the facility’s roofline to gain approval, as well as to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement with the township.
During Monday night’s meeting, new plans addressing the roofline were presented, which included a height adjustment to 45 feet, as well as other changes to meet the concerns of trustees. Original designs had the building reaching 55 feet.
“We have made substantial modifications to our roofline design,” said Jeff Meyers, director of real estate development, Spectrum Health. “We think we have roofline details and elements that meet the spirit the board was urging us to do.”
Health Pointe also reached a PILOT agreement with the township, agreeing to pay $43,200 annually for services and infrastructure provided by the township, which include ordinance enforcement, fire protection, police protection, transit services and municipal water and sewer services.
The agreement will only go into effect if Health Pointe receives tax-exempt status.
Board members were satisfied that the design changes and PILOT agreement remedied their remaining concerns about the facility, and after nearly three hours of public comment — mostly opposing Health Pointe — the board granted approval for the project, with William Kieft, board treasurer, casting the only no vote.
The board also unanimously approved the PILOT agreement.
Dr. David Ottenbaker, who practices in Grand Haven and is a Health Pointe board member and associate chief medical officer for Spectrum Health Medical Group, said Spectrum Health and Holland Hospital are excited to have gained approval for the project.
“Developing an integrated care center is what we think the community wants and needs, so we are very excited,” Ottenbaker said.
Jen VanSkiver, chief communications officer at NOCHS, expressed the disappointment of many leaving the Grand Haven Fire and Rescue Station, where the meeting was held, following the approval.
“I think the community is disappointed that the township trustees did not vote in favor of healthy competition in this community,” VanSkiver said.
“Instead, what they voted to approve was a Taj Mahal to duplication, which we all know drives up costs, drives down quality and fractures communities. This was about market share, not community need. I think that was evident from the comments. It was certainly evident in the analysis and that is disappointing.”
VanSkiver said going forward, NOCHS will continue to collaborate with other area health systems, including Spectrum Health.
“We will press on as we always have and continue to meet the local need,” VanSkiver said. “We are still the local hospital and that is not going to change. We’ll continue to welcome their support and hope they’ll continue to support us.”