Essentia Health Grand Rapids Clinic expands

Completion for the $14 million expansion of the Essentia Health Grand Rapids site is expected to be in late spring 2018. The new 25,000 square feet facility is designed to increase access to specialty care for area patients, making Essentia a partner at Lakewood Surgery Center.

Partners with Lakewood Surgery Center

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on July 11 for a $14 million expansion of the Essentia Health Grand Rapids Clinic, located on 1542 Golf Course Road. The project, which is designed to increase health service choices to the residents of Itasca County and surrounding areas, will make the clinic a partner of the Lakewood Surgery Center.

A surgery center is a lower cost alternative for outpatient (same day) surgery.

“Essentia is always interested in partnering with other healthcare providers in our region to provide high quality care at a lower cost,” said Marsha Green, chief operating officer and administrator at Essentia Health Deer River.

Founded by a group of local physicians, Lakewood Surgery Center has been serving the Grand Rapids community in areas of ophthalmology, orthopaedic, general surgery, endoscopy, podiatry, eye laser procedures and pain management since 2006.

Essentia Health Deer River operates its Grand Rapids clinic (traditional family medicine services as well as walk-in care) in the same building complex as Lakewood. It was a logical move for the surgery center’s administration to approach Essentia with the proposal to deepen their partnership in serving patients.

“The surgeons, physicians and staff are all here for the people of Grand Rapids who have come to love and appreciate Lakewood Surgery Center,” said Dr. Dan Margo, a general surgeon and Lakewood’s board  chair.  “This new partnership will give our patients much better access to low-cost, high-quality care and expanded services for them as well.”

Upon completion, the expansion will allow patients increased access to cardiology, podiatry and orthopedics services as well as future access to urology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) care.

“Our patients will receive the appropriate care right here in Grand Rapids, with the same physicians they’re used to seeing, but now have access to Essentia specialists, if they need that level of care,” Margo said. He added that oral surgery care will be provided through further partnership with a local dental group in Grand Rapids.

During the 10-month construction phase, 25,000 square feet will be added to the current surgery center. After all services are moved into the new facility, the current existing space will be remodeled, ultimately offering physical therapy services, cardiac rehabilitation and other specialty services. Once the facility is fully optimized, Essentia estimates that 30 full-time positions will have been added.

Green said the expansion will lead to four newly created full-time physician positions and four to six new full-time posts for advanced practitioners, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

While the overall process of expanding services to the Grand Rapids area will evolve over time, the focus right now lies on adding a full-time advanced practitioner for cardiac care.

Essentia Health has a strong presence in the Deer River community, where it operates a hospital as well as a clinic. No service will end there.

Lakewood Surgery Center will remain its own entity. Being an outpatient facility, it does not have extended stay capabilities.

No hospital beds will be added during the site expansion. Surgeries that requires an overnight stay will continue to be performed at the Deer River hospital.

“The fact that we are all on one electronic medical record means that a physician in Deer River, in Grand Rapids or any other Essentia site has the same information,” Green noted.

During the construction, which is anticipated to be completed late in the spring of 2018, all organizations that reside within the Lakewood Surgery Center facility, including the Bonner Eye Clinic as well as the Itasca Surgical Clinic, will remain open.

Essentia Health has partnered with MedCraft for the development of the construction site. Kraus-Anderson will serve as general contractor for the entire expansion. The company plans to take full advantage of the local workforce during the build-out.