New medical office building at Concord Hospital will hold Concord Orthopaedics

  • The new construction at Concord Hospital is seen from the top of the parking garage across the street on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • This architect rendering shows what the new 153,000-square-foot medical office building at Concord Hospital will look like once it opens. Concord Hospital / Courtesy

  • Robert Steigmeyer, CEO of Concord Hospital. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Ron Chorzewski, CEO of Concord Orthopaedics. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By DAVID BROOKS
Published: 3/23/2019 4:48:17 PM

Editors Note: Only the Orthopaedic Surgery Center currently located at Concord Orthopaedics' offices at 264 Pleasant Street will be moving to the new medical office building. Patients will continue to visit the main office for regular office visits.

 

The steel framework rising above Concord Hospital signals a $56 million addition to the medical campus that officials say will help guide the hospital through the medical, technical and financial changes sweeping health care.

It also signals something else: Neighbors on Pleasant Street can stop worrying about getting rezoned.

When the medical office building opens a year from now, the bottom of its four floors will hold the surgery center of Concord Orthopaedics, a move from nearby facilities in which the facility has operated for two decades, in partnership with the hospital. That shift means the institution no longer wants to build a standalone surgical center on Pleasant Street, an idea that produced months of loud opposition before planners shelved it last year.

“This is going to allow us to get more capacity. We’re going to be able to transition to outpatient joint replacement. … We’re doing it now but we’re not doing it at Concord because of space constraints,” Ron Chorzewski, CEO of Concord Orthopaedics, said Thursday.

The 153,000-square-foot medical office building, which as yet has no name, is rising between the Memorial and Pillsbury medical office buildings.

Its top three floors, accessed from the East Drive side of the building, will hold offices for physicians and specialists working for the hospital. The bottom floor, accessed from the Langley Parkway side, will hold Concord Ortho and probably an eye specialist, said Bob Steigmeyer, CEO of Concord Hospital.

Steigmeyer said the medical office building is the culmination of four years of planning to both incorporate new technologies and to help the hospital and medical offices cope with the changing face of health care.

“We’ve been looking at what needs to be in the hospital, and what doesn’t need to be in the hospital,” said Steigmeyer.

“We have to move to lower-cost settings,” he said. “We need more outpatient ambulatory services and we’ve got to build the capacity necessary to do that, as part of a transition over time, with new technology and facilities. It’s a market that’s growing.”

Like all hospitals, Concord is facing pressure from changes in insurance and federal reimbursement practices, as well as competition from stand-alone facilities for walk-in care. It is trying to shift from the old model in which most patients first go to the high-cost emergency room for everything from sprains to heart attacks by creating a mix of specialty services on campus with more primary care located elsewhere.

“Our approach has been to bring together specialty services … while we build primary care out in the community. We regard ourselves as a regional referral center. We know we’re not an academic research center but we’ve grown beyond what would be a traditional community hospital,” Steigmeyer said.

He noted that Concord Hospital has been drawing patients from a larger area in recent years, partly because many smaller rural facilities are closing or shrinking. Pamela Puleo, the hospital’s chief advancement officer, says data indicates that people from 200 New Hampshire towns and cities have been served at the hospital. That covers most of the state, since New Hampshire has 234 towns and cities.

Steigmeyer said the top three floors of the new building will be organized around core areas of medical practice. For example, urology, obstetrics/gynecology and pelvic medicine will be on the same floor with a single check-in location because they often have patient overlap. Similarly, neurology will be “co-located” with pulmonology and cardiology, he said: “Those are often services that are used together.”

Planning for the new building, he said, had to take in a 30-year perspective. “We need to think about what changes might be coming,” he said.

Another 30,000 square feet can be added to the building if the need arises, said Kevin McCarthy, vice president of support services.

Concord Hospital, which dates back to the 1880s, is on a roughly 100-acre campus that will be mostly built out after this project.

The only major building work anticipated in the future Steigmeyer said, involves the Yeaple Building, which holds the family health center. He  said it is likely to be torn down and replaced with a new structure at some time, although nothing definite exists.

Current plans call for the new building to open in the spring of 2020.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter@GraniteGeek.)



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