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Published April 04, 2013, 11:30 PM

Expansions at Essentia Health reflect patient growth

FARGO – The $50 million hospital tower planned for Essentia Health is designed to cope with the trends of increased outpatient treatments and rising inpatient complexity.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

FARGO – The $50 million hospital tower planned for Essentia Health is designed to cope with the trends of increased outpatient treatments and rising inpatient complexity.

The new addition, slated to open in January 2015, ultimately will add 56 beds and will be accompanied by a new specialty clinic on the campus at 3000 32nd Ave. S.

Drawings of the new hospital wing and clinic were officially unveiled Thursday.

The expansions reflect growth in patient volume as well as the imperative for health providers to deliver more cost-effective care as public and private insurers pay for quality, said Dr. Peter Person, Essentia’s chief executive officer.

To do that, health providers in both the hospital and clinic settings are working in care management teams to treat chronic disease.

“We’re transforming health care,” Person said. “Fargo is part of that transformation.”

Essentia is one of six “Accountable Care Organizations” that have been recognized by Medicare. Based in Duluth, Minn., Essentia operates 64 clinics and 18 hospitals in four states with a service population of

1 million.

The care organizations, which combine hospitals and clinics, are held accountable for their results and must achieve quality benchmarks.

“This is one of the steps to achieve the accountability we need,” Person said, referring to the new hospital tower and clinic building. The campus is designed to grow along with the area’s population, he added.

Dr. Greg Glasner, chief medical officer of Essentia’s west region, said financial backing from Essentia enabled both the $80 million building campaign and $50 million in improvements made over the past five years, the former since Innovis Health joined Essentia.

“Without the support of Essentia we would not have this project,” he said, adding that Essentia’s Fargo operations have seen the medical staff increase by 65 percent over six years.

With the shift to delivering more and more health services in outpatient, clinical settings, hospitals receive only the sickest patients, most of them for short stays.

“It’s a high-intensity campus,” Glasner said. “It’s built for outpatient treatments and very sick patients.”

He added: “We’re going to try to grow incrementally. We realize health care dollars are tight,” with declining reimbursements. “This is a project that’s going to be built for the way health care is going to be delivered in the future.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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