Bronson to build new hospital and medical offices in South Haven

Over the next two years, Bronson Healthcare will replace the aging hospital and medical office buildings at 955 S. Bailey Ave. in South Haven with two new facilities, for a $22 million investment in the lakeshore community.

Plans include the new hospital, a 14-bed emergency department, lab and imaging services, pharmacy, and medical offices for primary care and specialty providers. Programming will be expanded to address identified community health needs such as outpatient chronic disease management and access to mental health and addiction services.

The new Bronson South Haven development will be designed based on the inpatient and outpatient services most used by the community as well as future healthcare trends. 

“We could not be more pleased to have the backing of the Bronson Healthcare system to embark on a construction project of this magnitude that will have such a positive impact on the patients and families we serve,” says Kirk Richardson, Bronson South Haven’s chief operating officer. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a state-of-the-art destination for healthcare along the lakeshore, and we look forward to all the ways it will help us advance the health of our communities.”

Today, 89 percent of area residents leave South Haven for inpatient care, so the new hospital will be sized to fit local needs and what state regulators will allow for new construction based on utilization.

Bronson South Haven currently averages fewer than four inpatients and three surgeries per day, so the new facility will be programmed for eight licensed beds and no operating rooms. Surgical patients may continue to schedule office appointments with their surgeons at Bronson South Haven, however, the surgeries themselves will be done in state-of-the-art surgical suites at nearby Bronson LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw or Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. 

Surgeries and surgical staff will be transitioned to these Bronson locations by year-end 2018. Patients with life threatening conditions or emergent surgical needs will be promptly transferred to Bronson Methodist Hospital, as they are today.

A health village will also include the Bronson Wellness Center at 950 S. Bailey Ave. which provides nutrition, fitness and rehabilitation services and many programs that effect the health of the community, and Bronson FastCare at 970 S. South Bailey Ave. which offers quick, affordable walk-in care for minor health conditions.

The new hospital and medical offices will be built on the east side of Bronson South Haven’s property near the entrance from Blue Star Highway.

Programming and architectural design will begin in October 2018 and construction could begin as early as fall of 2019, pending requisite approvals from the Bronson Healthcare board of directors and state regulatory agencies. Completion, is targeted for the end of 2020. 

The currently existing hospital and medical office buildings, which are too costly to bring up to modern standards, will be demolished at that time to create more parking and green spaces. 

The value of the new development, along with $3.9 million invested over the last two years, exceeds the $18 million commitment for improvements that Bronson Healthcare made when South Haven Health System joined Bronson.

“When we chose to partner with Bronson Healthcare in 2016,” says Dennis Palgen, former board chair of South Haven Health System, “we knew it would make our hometown healthcare stronger and provide better access to primary care, diagnostics, specialty care and the resources necessary to serve the community long term. Bronson’s plan to build new healthcare facilities in South Haven is an exceptional gift to our community that will be welcomed now and appreciated for generations to come.”

Source: Bronson Healthcare
An aeriel view of the location of the new hospital and related offices. Photo courtesy Bronson Healthcare

Read more articles by Kathy Jennings.

Kathy Jennings is the managing editor of Southwest Michigan's Second Wave. She is a freelance writer and editor.