Froedtert & the Medical College plan neighborhood hospital in Oak Creek

A rendering of Froedtert & MCW's planned neighborhood hospital in Oak Creek.

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin plans to build a new neighborhood hospital near its recently-opened Drexel Town Square Health Center in Oak Creek, continuing the health network’s efforts to ease capacity constraints at its flagship Wauwatosa hospital and grow its presence south of Milwaukee.

A rendering of Froedtert & MCW’s planned neighborhood hospital in Oak Creek.

The new 18,000-square-foot hospital is planned for the northwest corner of South 13th Street and West Drexel Avenue, about a half-mile west of its new health center, 7901 S. 6th St., in Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square development. It will include a seven-bed emergency department and eight inpatient beds for patients requiring additional care, observation and tests.

The project follows Froedtert & MCW’s plans for a similar neighborhood hospital concept in Mequon. In May, Froedtert & MCW announced plans to build a small-scale hospital across the street from its recently-opened health center on North Port Washington Road in Mequon.

Both projects are aimed at relieving Froedtert Hospital’s high occupancy rates, which often exceed 85 percent, and will allow the system to provide services closer to home in two growing communities. The facility, which will include a laboratory, a pharmacy and imaging services, is designed to treat medical emergencies that require attention beyond an urgent care clinic’s capability.

So-called neighborhood hospitals have emerged as a growing trend with health systems looking to offer more cost-effective and streamlined care.

“Changing the hospital model is part of the necessary process of creating the health system of the future,” said Cathy Jacobson, president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Health. “We continue to explore how we can improve access to care, including bringing services to people where they are. Creating an integrated care delivery network includes making the best use of resources to meet patients’ needs and providing care that is accessible and affordable. The neighborhood hospital is part of that effort.”

Froedtert is partnering with Tandem Hospital Partners, a Houston, Texas-based firm that operates several other neighborhood hospitals across the country, on both the Oak Creek and Mequon projects. Under the partnership, Froedtert Health will lease the building from Tandem Hospital Partners. The hospital is expected to open in early 2020, pending city approvals. The health network has retained Ryan Companies as the project construction manager.

The new hospital is expected to employ about 40 full-time and part-time staff, and to see about 15 to 25 patients per day, the health network said. Medical College of Wisconsin emergency physicians and registered nurses will staff the neighborhood hospital.

Over the past five years, about 80 people per day have traveled from Oak Creek to the Froedtert Hospital campus for emergency or hospital care, according to Jacobson.

“We see the neighborhood hospital as a way to keep high-quality care close to home in a convenient setting that is easy to navigate,” Jacobson said. “It also will fill a need for this level of care in Oak Creek, which currently does not have a hospital.”

Froedtert Hospital’s occupancy rate places it among the highest in the state, according to officials. In addition to planning the two neighborhood hospitals, Froedtert purchased the shuttered Wisconsin Heart Hospital property in Wauwatosa from Ascension Wisconsin for $25 million in July, citing Froedtert Hospital’s capacity constraints. The health system is also in the midst of completing a four-floor expansion on top of its 12-story, 613,000-square-foot Center for Advanced Care on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Campus.

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