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  • Robert Lathers

Sparrow Health System Unveils Portland Expansion Plans

Sparrow Health System shared its Portland Expansion plan with the Portland City Planning Commission on Wednesday night. William Roeser, CEO of Sparrow-Ionia Hospital, provided details about the specific services the new facility would offer while Ryan Johnson, a Landscape Architect with Progressive Architectural Design and Engineering in Grand Rapids, shared preliminary details on the design of the proposed 11,500 square foot building which will be located on a 5-acre site on Hyland Drive.. The new facility will be about five times larger than the current Sparrow Family Health Clinic located on the corner of Grand River and Culver Road.

Roeser began his presentation by sharing that he has been with Sparrow Health System for sixteen years with the past twelve years as the CEO of Sparrow-Ionia Hospital. He is also a Portland resident. Roeser stated that from the beginning he has heard that the residents of Portland have wanted an Urgent Care Facility. This facility would attempt to address some of that demand. Sparrow has operated a Family Health Clinic in Portland for the past 20 years but its current facility, of about 2,000 sq. feet, has long outgrown that space. “Urgent Care is to give the customer what they want”, Roeser stated.

There are two physicians and a nurse practitioner working in the current clinic Roeser noted. However, Sparrow is actively recruiting three more practitioners, in order to staff the new facility, which Sparrow hopes to open in Spring-Summer of 2020. In the beginning the new clinic will offer walk-in service, with no appointment necessary, and include extended hours. The hours will initially be Mon-Friday from Noon-7PM and on Saturday from 8AM-Noon. Roeser told the Planning Commission that these hours could expand to Sunday if the patient demand is there. Roeser also stated that additional services could be offered in the future.

Roeser was careful to explain that the new facility will offer Lab and X-Ray Services. The new facility will be for minor illnesses and injuries like cuts and bruises, but will not be for trauma services traditionally defined as strokes symptoms, chest pains, severe burns, seizures, major cuts and bruises, broken bones, or fever with a rash. The clinic will also not include a commercial pharmacy as there are already two of those operating in Portland. “It will be a primary care, walk-in clinic”, Roeser emphasized.

One of the more unique services in the works for the facility will be the addition of offices for The Right Door for Hope, Recovery and Wellness (formerly Ionia County Community Mental Health). The Right Door, a taxpayer supported public agency, provides 24/7 Crisis Mental Health Services as well as Outpatient and Psychiatric Services for Ionia County with offices currently in Ionia, Belding and Portland. The new Sparrow Portland facility will, “offer a good opportunity to expand services to reach more individuals in the Portland Community. We already offer walk-in services for people experiencing a mental health crisis at our Bridge Street offices, which will remain open. The new Sparrow offices will expand our ability to allow the community even greater access to our services”, Right Door CEO Kerry Possehn shared with the Beacon. The Right Door, like Sparrow Health System, accepts Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances.

Portland City Manager, Tutt Gorman, shared with the Beacon that following last night’s meeting, Sparrow will need to return to the Planning Commission in November for Final Site Plan review and approval. Those plans must first be approved by Portland’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet and conduct a public hearing on Sparrow’s request for a zoning exception on November 12th and pending that approval, the Planning Commission will consider Final Site Plan approval at its regularly scheduled meeting on November 13th.

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