The Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin health network plans to start construction this summer to convert the former Wisconsin Heart Hospital building into a specialized physical rehabilitation hospital and medical office building.
Froedtert Health purchased the former Wisconsin Heart Hospital building at 10000 W. Bluemound Road in 2018 for $25 million from Ascension Wisconsin as a response to increased demand and capacity constraints at the health system’s flagship hospital on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.
In January 2020, the health system submitted plans to the city to operate a new hospital campus at the shuttered facility. Plans were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the site was used in the interim for various community needs, including a donation drop-off location and COVID vaccination clinic.
Now, Froedtert plans to complete interior renovations to turn the facility into a 50-bed acute-care hospital that will provide physical, occupational and speech therapies and other rehabilitation services, serving as a “home before home” for patients, said spokesman Stephen Schooff. The hospital will also include imaging, lab, pharmacy, lounge, kitchen and dining areas. The clinical services provided at the Bluemound campus will be relocated from Froedtert Hospital.
Interior construction on the second and third floors for the medical office building will begin later this summer. The project will also include two small second-floor additions totaling 3,600 square feet.
In the attached medical office building, Froedtert will provide outpatient dermatology and skin cancer surgical services, along with a pharmacy.
The first floor of the hospital includes vacant clinical and administrative spaces that allow for future growth for the campus, according to plans submitted to the city.
Froedtert & MCW will not be activating the existing emergency department at the Bluemound campus, but plans to use the ambulance bay for transporting patients.
The hospital and medical office building are expected to open in July 2022.
Staffing levels will depend on patient volume, but Froedtert & MCW anticipates an initial daily census of 25 patients, ramping up to 50 patients per day by year five, according to plans submitted to the city.
The former Wisconsin Heart Hospital hospital building was formerly operated by Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, which closed the facility in 2016, shortly after the health system became part of Ascension Wisconsin. The 30-bed campus, which opened in 2004 as a joint venture of the Covenant Healthcare System and a coalition of physicians and private investors, cost $44 million to build. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare bought out its partners in 2006 and became sole owner of the Heart Hospital.