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Children’s hospital addition improves patient experience & healthcare delivery

Completing the final phase of the $850 million master plan

The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) is a major healthcare provider in Southeast Michigan. Upon embarking on the largest capital improvement campaign in system history, totaling $850 million across 15 major projects, the DMC engaged Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR), formerly Plante Moran Cresa, as the program manager and owner’s representative. Our team has worked closely with DMC facilities staff over an eight-year period to develop the initial programming, master schedule, and budget; lead the procurement of professional services and medical equipment for each project; and oversee the design, construction, and activation of each phase of the program.

The final phase of the hospital system’s master plan was the $155 million Critical Care Tower addition and renovations to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, one of eight acute care hospitals operated by the DMC at the main Detroit campus. PMR provided project leadership from the initial budget formation through occupancy, all while the hospital remained open.

Budget management through challenges

Prior to approval of the six-story, 248,800 SF critical care tower addition as it was built, PMR ran scenarios to price multiple options for the Children’s Hospital leaders to consider, options that ranged from a full replacement facility to varying scales of addition and renovations. We applied our project and operational benchmark data for cost and space planning to the various scenarios to evaluate the overall investment, feasibility, and campus impact.

From that evaluation, we generated ROI studies for the health system to analyze as part of its debt capacity. The studies acknowledged the unique program aspects of a children’s hospital that needed to be considered as part of early planning, particularly the constricted urban environment, the need for the hospital to stay operational throughout construction, and the overall goal to give families a comfortable environment to support their child during treatment.

After establishing the initial budget, PMR maintained that budget and the DMC’s project goals through a health system merger with Vanguard Health and then Tenant Health, three administration changes, and the region’s highest construction cost escalation period in decades. PMR's thorough negotiation and diligent tracking of commitments saved the Children’s Hospital in excess of $4.4 million, largely from mitigating unnecessary claims that would have caused cost increases.

Process management to produce superior results

In addition to budget control, PMR developed the schedule for the Children’s Hospital addition — including phased activation of the new building and the multi-phase subsequent renovations — integrating it with the master schedule for the entire system-wide program to ensure alignment with overall goals. Our team served as the single point of contact for the entire program, providing full-time onsite oversight to manage the construction process, coordination with the in-house facilities management team, and all activities falling under the responsibility of the Children’s Hospital staff, including procurement for medical equipment and furniture.

Program highlights: lean build, latest tech, & patient delight

The new Children’s Hospital contains a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, a radiology department, an expanded surgery department, and a welcoming lobby with child-inspired interiors throughout. The project was based on a lean facility design, and it considered efficient workplace utilization for all stakeholders while optimizing space. Mock-up rooms were constructed to allow hospital staff to make adjustments to the layout prior to construction. The facility design incorporates the latest technology, both improving the patient experience and enabling staff to deliver the best possible care more efficiently.

If your hospital is considering a capital program, we can help. Our program managers can be your trusted advisor from concept to completion, keeping your goals, budget, and schedule at the forefront of any project, no matter how complex. Contact us to learn more.

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