Macomb County has first community meeting on Health-care hubs concept
The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) kicked off its Health-care Hubs initiative in April in a joint meeting with planning representatives from communities in and around the Beaumont (Corewell) and Ascension medical campuses near 26 Mile Road and Interstate 94.
Lenox Township, Chesterfield Township, the village of New Haven and St. Clair County were in attendance to hear a Health-care Hubs presentation prepared by MCPED Business Developer Hali Lenney.
The Hub concept is an attempt to strategically foster development around the hospital campuses, grow complimentary businesses and make them more attractive to patients and their loved ones. The hubs would serve as one-stop shops to attract and retain people in the community and drive the local economy. Through collaboration with city planners, educational systems and major health organizations, the goal is to create a region that not only meets residents’ health needs but also draws new residents to the community.
“They (new businesses) can find locations to develop on their own, or we can direct them to the best locations,” MCPED Director Vicky Rowinski said. “We want to be part of the solution.”
If adopted, Health-care hubs would:
- Create convenience for patients and their loved ones by supporting commercial establishments, such as restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
- Attract other supportive businesses, such medical practitioners, testing facilities, urgent care centers, etc.
- Attract medical suppliers who wish to be closer to customers.
- Collaborate with education to help fuel the talent pipeline.
- Encourages building of senior living facilities, and other housing to provide close proximity to those that need to use the services
- Facilitate collaboration between all communities and medical systems involved, along with adopting the branding of this area as a Healthcare Hub.
Simply getting all of the communities in the same room to talk about the proposed Health-care Hub was a big objective of the meeting. But Lenney also laid out the services that Macomb County would be able to provide to the member communities to support the Hub.
Tools that MCPED can contribute to the success of the program could include:
- Economic Development – providing workforce recruiting and training incentives and business development incentives and programs
- Planning – providing brownfield assessment and remediation, placemaking for projects that revitalize or create dynamic public spaces.
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping that would provide industry metrics, socio-economic data, and mapping/hub visualization.
The 26 Mile Road/I-94 corridor was the first Health-Care Hub location chosen due to its lack of development and open spaces compared to the other proposed Hubs. The Ascension medical campus is not yet open for business.
St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission Executive Director David Struck said the Hub could end up providing a healthcare refuge for all residents of St. Clair County, all the way up into the Thumb of Michigan, including St. Clair, Lapeer and Sanilac counties.
Jeffery White, the public safety director for Lenox Township and chief paramedic at Richmond-Lenox EMS, said 50% of patients that his organization transfers out of the Beaumont (Corewell) facility are from St. Clair County.
“A lot of people come down to this area, and beyond,” he said.
The biggest concerns that the group brought up was the lack of infrastructure and the traffic congestion in the 26 Mile Road/I-94 corridor.
While the infrastructure is being addressed (water/sewer, utilities, etc.) the volume of traffic in the area lingers as a major problem. Huge traffic jams exist during both the morning and evening rush hours. And backups exist on I-94 ingress/egress ramps from 26 Mile Road northeast to County Line Road, Division, and Gratiot, and south to New Haven Road.
White said he is all for the idea of Health-care Hubs, but something must be done to relieve the traffic congestion.
Other proposed Health-care Hubs include Corewell Health in Troy, Henry Ford Health Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, McLaren Macomb in Mount Clemens, and Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren.
For more information about the Health-care Hubs, contact Business Developer Hali Lenney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don Gardner is a communications specialist for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.