Hospital projects spur growth in Detroit

Detroit is projected to spend $1.3 billion on hospital construction and improvements over the next several years. The work could help drive an economic renaissance in the battered city, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change.

The projects include $500 million in capital improvements for Henry Ford Medical Center and $850 million for Detroit Medical Center, which was recently acquired by Vanguard Healthcare.

The Henry Ford project will also include new housing and retail in the area surrounding the hospital, which could spur economic growth outside of the realm of healthcare delivery.

Another seed for a potential economic bloom: Detroit's medical community and insurers are working closely to improve the quality of healthcare delivery and a "community willingness to work collaboratively to address difficult issues relating to care for the poor and uninsured," noted the CSHSC.

The report did caution that an overt focus on healthcare services could have a downside. "If all the spending on capital improvements leads to increased use of high-tech services or additional costs from excess capacity, the end result might be higher private health insurance premiums, which could negatively impact employers and employees," said Center President Paul B. Ginsburg.

To learn more:
- read the Center for Studying Health System Change press release
- here's the CSHSC research report