Bright Future Foreseen At Groundbreaking For UW Health at The American Center
Madison, Wisconsin - April 9 was a blustery, gray morning full of rain and a cold wind, but Dr. Jeffrey Grossman had visions of beauty in his mind.
Grossman was speaking to a crowd gathered under a tent for the groundbreaking ceremony for UW Health at The American Center, a health care campus that will be built on Madison's far east side over the next two years.
"It's going to be a beautiful place in a couple of ways," said Grossman, the president and CEO of the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation. "One is the obvious, which is based on the wonderful work of our designers and our architects, and this truly is going to be a remarkably beautiful facility, as you can foresee from the pictures.
"But the beauty of the building also has to be reflected in its purpose. ... This is going to be a building that is designed for the patient experience."
To that end, members of UW Health's Patient and Family Advisory Councils have been part of every committee throughout the process of planning the three-wing building at 4602 Eastpark Blvd., just north of the intersection of Interstate 90/94 and Highway 151.
The facility will feature:
- A 56-bed inpatient hospital for orthopedic and general medical/surgical patients
- Two floors of clinic exam rooms for outpatient care in a variety of clinical specialties
- A universal care center for outpatient diagnostic and treatment procedures
- Physical and occupational therapy
- A wellness, fitness and sports performance wing with therapeutic pool, sports courts, sprint track, classrooms and demonstration kitchen
- A 24-hour emergency department for evaluation and treatment, or transport to UW Hospital and Clinics' full-service emergency department if necessary
"Many people are describing what we are building here on the east side as a hospital," UW Hospital and Clinics president and CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky said. "I don't use the word 'hospital' when it comes to this. This is a health care campus.
"We are turning the page on a new way to deliver care to our patients. UW Health at The American Center is unlike anything that we have ever done at UW Health. ... And from the very beginning, we took an approach to create a building that was different."
Planning for the new campus started back in 2005, when the land was purchased, and the need to build UW Health at The American Center now is two-fold: UW Hospital and Clinics is expected to reach full capacity by 2014, and the 30-year-old facility also is in need of renovations. Moving some services to the new location will address both of those issues, while bringing a new resource to the east side.
"Despite the rain, it is truly a great day. A great day for UW Health, a great day for American Family and a great day for The American Center," American Family Insurance chaiman and CEO Jack Salzwedel said. "And I would say it's a great day for our community, and in particular the east corridor of the City of Madison. This new campus is going to bring much to this area."
Madison mayor Paul Soglin said UW Health at The American Center speaks to changes in the city he's been elected to lead seven times spanning five decades.
"I can't help but recall that when I first started out in city government in 1968, there was a continual cry from the east side that there was, they said, no hospital," Soglin told the gathering, noting that all of the city's hospitals traditionally have been west of the Capitol Square. "Well, Madison has changed, it has grown. And with it, our health care organizations (have changed, too), particularly UW Hospital."
The mayor noted that he is a UW Health patient himself.
"There's a lot of people who could take credit for me being upright these days," Soglin said as he both introduced and thanked orthopedic surgeon Thomas Zdeblick, one of the physicians who will practice at UW Health at The American Center.
"This is really a 10-year dream come true for me," Zdeblick said. "I can't wait to put a shovel in the ground, I can't wait to see this building rise up from the ground and I can't wait to work in this environment.
"I don't think there's anything like this in the country. This is a unique blend of a specialty-care hospital and a community-care hospital that's been thoughtfully engineered so that the satisfaction of the patient and the provider is paramount at every step."
Grossman echoed that sentiment. He cited the new campus and UW Health's Digestive Health Center - which opened a day earlier - as examples of the "transformation" of health care.
"Most of us might intuitively think that a great patient experience and efficiency don't go together and are actually oxymorons," he said. "It turns out that the future of health care is dependent on the notion that they very much go together. ... (that they) are not mutually exclusive, but in fact interdependent.
"When I talk about transformation, what I'm thinking about is the fact that we are now really getting organized around the resources that we have, and those resources are largely people resources."
After Grossman's comments, 11 UW Health and local officials put gold-plated shovels into the ground, pulled up some dirt and with that, the construction of UW Health at The American Center was underway.
Date Published: 04/11/2013