Remember how Essent was going to build a new hospital in Ayer, MA? They said the current one was unable to be renovated and they would have to build new, instead? Ennnnnh, wrong again. The Lowell Sun had an article recently:
Hospital abandons new-facility plans, to renovate instead
By Jack Minch, firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Last Updated: 02/29/2008 11:32:12 AM EST
AYER -- Nashoba Valley Medical Center announced yesterday it is abandoning plans to build a new hospital at a cost of $50 million to $60 million, and will instead renovate the existing facility.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Roach said he'll meet with town officials to determine if the change affects a tax-increment financing agreement approved at Town Meeting last May. However, the hospital still plans to add 30 new jobs to its staff as agreed to under the deal.
"The commitment to 30 jobs is still there," Roach said. "We have to grow the staff. You can't do it without staff."
The cost savings for renovations can be used to pay for new equipment, which benefits patient care and also works as a recruiting tool for new doctors, Roach said.
Officials say the decision to renovate reflects a trend in the medical industry that places emphasis on more outpatient care and shorter inpatient stays when hospitalization is required.
"Most of what we used to keep people in the hospital for three, four days or a week we do in a day now," said Dr. Kenneth Janes, a surgeon at the hospital for 30 years.
The hospital was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a 100-bed facility with little outpatient capacity, Roach said. Now, with clinical work, about 85 percent of the care is on an outpatient level.
The cost of the renovation hasn't been set, but it will be less than $50 million, Roach said.
The timeline for work won't be determined until the scope of renovations is decided. The work isn't expected to shut down the hospital.
The hospital originally planned to start construction in 2009 on a facility with 60 private rooms.
Instead, hospital doctors and staff members will work with a design-build team to determine what renovation work needs to be done, Roach said.
"We would get what we call a new hospital within a hospital," Roach said.
Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski and Planning and Development Director Christopher Ryan met Wednesday with Roach and Richard Salerno, the senior vice president of operations for Nashoba Valley's parent company, Essent Healthcare LLC of Nashville, Tenn. The meeting didn't delve deeply into details.
"From what I can gather, it would still represent substantial growth and investment at the facility," Suhoski said.
The current hospital has about 104,000 square feet, and renovation plans could include some new construction, Roach said.
The hospital is licensed for 57 beds but effectively uses about 35, Roach said.
There are about 116 doctors on staff, but only about 65 or 70 are active.
Note: This is after they mortgaged the hospital to GE Capital.
Now, take Paris. Should they build a new facility on the North Campus? What's going to happen to the old one? What about the property values around the South Campus? What about all the property that Essent owns around that facility? You wonder if Essent announced that 'exploration' to drop property values and get a tax-break on all the properties they hold.
You would have thought that the medical supply building directly across the street would have been a hot commodity, but it's still posted for sale. If the hospital wasn't active, how many doctors would stay in the old Brookshire's or the old Sears buildings?
One indicator would be how long it takes to lease Dr. Wilson's office when she leaves this summer. Directly across from the hospital, one would think prime location.