Construction spreads unchecked, even as patient days fall
At 7 a.m. on Feb. 16, Aurora Medical Center - Wisconsin's newest hospital - opened its doors. Five minutes later, the 43-bed hospital in Kenosha admitted its first patient.
The full-service hospital was added onto the 150,000-square-foot outpatient health center Aurora Health Care opened in 1995. Milwaukee-based Aurora spent about $20 million to build the hospital, which has 30 medical-surgical beds, six intensive care beds, and seven obstetrics beds; a 24-hour emergency department; an inpatient pharmacy; enhanced diagnostic and ancillary services; and a large community education room.
The hospital's construction has prompted a rival hospital in Kenosha to build anew. But more than that, it reflects an unchecked building boom by hospitals across the state that are spending heavily to add inpatient beds even as patient days continue to fall.
Hospital administrator Seonaid Ritz said Aurora Medical Center used the latest trends in hospital design to create a patient-centered, home-like environment.
Ritz began her duties as administrator last month, having moved to Kenosha from Shawano Medical Center, where she was in charge of patient services. For Ritz, managing a brand new hospital "is the opportunity of a lifetime."
Aurora Medical Center will serve the greater Kenosha area, which has been growing rapidly in recent …