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McLaren Hospital moves forward

June 27, 2012 - Despite being stalled by the state, Independence Township is ready for a McLaren hospital, especially now that it is downsized.

On June 14, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a revised site plan for the medical facility, which would be built off Sashabaw and Bow Pointe roads.

"I think the new plan is great," said Planning Commissioner Cheryl Karrick after McLaren's presentation.

The new proposal caps the number of beds at 200, but allows for 50 additional beds for specialty needs such as pediatrics or in-patient rehabilitation.

Instead of five stories, the revised plan shows a four-story hospital with reduced parking and building size. Changes to the previous site plan also include moving the hospital's emergency department from the front to the rear of the building. The hospital would be designated a Level II trauma center, which means "physicians in the emergency department are board certified in emergency medicine," said Gregory Lane, McLaren Health Care senior vice president.

McLaren's revised plan would relocate 200 beds from the McLaren Oakland hospital in Pontiac. On June 15, protestors marched in front of the Pontiac location. Besides triggering protests, the new hospital also requires the state's approval.

Hospital construction is set to begin on July 1, 2015, but only if the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in Lansing approves McLaren's Certificate of Need (CON) this July. Michigan requires CONs as a measure to avoid too many hospitals, which results in too many empty beds.

According to Lane, McLaren anticipates "a decision from the Michigan Department of Community Health within the next 21 days to four weeks on our [CON] application." McLaren filed a CON application in early February. "If it is denied, we will appeal it," Lane told the Planning Commission.

Angela Minicuci at the MDCH office said, McLaren's CON is "currently under review" and a decision will be reached by June 29. The new hospital plans are available at The Planning Commission meets again on July 12, 6:30 p.m., in Independence Township Hall.

Clarkston News reporter
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