Henry Ford Health System plans a March opening for its new hospital in West Bloomfield, an expansive 300-bed structure with a stone and brick façade, an entryway lined with small town-style storefronts and a look more in line with a northern Michigan lodge than a sterile medical building.
At a preview today, hospital officials said that beyond the resort-like feel, Henry Ford plans to offer an array of health services aimed at helping the Detroit-based hospital system compete for patients in the western Oakland County.
Those services include operating rooms with surgical robots, a one-stop care center for seniors with neurological conditions, an expanded emergency department that will double the number of visits a year to 48,000, and a wellness center with day spa services and personal health coaches.
"Some of the services are very central. Some others are unique," said Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System. "The idea is to draw the community in so they get to know us."
The hospital opens to the public on March 15, and has been nearly 25 years in the making on Henry Ford's 160-acre West Bloomfield property. Henry Ford first opened a medical campus on the site in 1975. It wasn't until 2002 that plans for a new hospital there gained traction, after state lawmakers passed legislation allowing Henry Ford and its competitor St. John Health to transfer patient beds from Detroit to suburban locations.
Previously, regulators had ruled the region that includes Oakland County had enough beds, and even after legislation was passed, five rival health systems filed suit to have the bed transfers blocked. That suit was struck down in 2004.
St. John Health, which is based in Warren but has a flagship hospital in Detroit, opened its new 200-bed hospital in Novi last fall. Henry Ford began construction on its own new $360 million hospital in West Bloomfield in 2005, and shortly after, hired former Ritz-Carlton executive Gerard van Grinsven, as the hospital's CEO.
The new hospital does have many hotel-style features such as all-private rooms with wood furnishings and Internet access, meals prepared by local culinary chefs, retail shops in the lobby, cooking classes and wooded walking trails, all designed to make the hospital more of a destination than a pit-stop for medical care.