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Council approves agreement with MIHS

January 26, 2018
Peoria Times
Carolyn Dryer

“Right out of the chute, there will be 150 positions.”

Those were the words spoken by Steve Purves, president and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health Systems, as he addressed Peoria City Council at its Jan. 23 regular meeting.

Purves answered several questions, mainly from Councilmember Bill Patena and Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Hunt, in whose Acacia district MIHS plans to build on 20 acres at the southeast corner of Cotton Crossing and Grand Avenue. Groundbreaking is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 29.

Before Purves stood before council, Economic Development Director Scott Whyte explained how the county’s health services provider made its decision to build its $70 million specialty and primary healthcare facility in Peoria.

It began during preparations for the 2017 Investment Forum hosted by the city.

“We put together a development package to present to the land owner and a document to share with the development community,” Whyte said.

In that package was a conceptual land use plan.

“Lucky for us, MIHS was interested and we reached out to them and had some great conversations,” Whyte said.

As a result, MIHS purchased the 20 acres and the development process began.

“We’re very happy to have them,” Whyte said.

The proposed 127,000-square-foot healthcare clinic will feature an urgent care, a dental clinic, dialysis clinic, operating rooms, pre-operative/recovery bays and on-site sterile processing. It will also offer behavioral health services, a retail pharmacy, lab services, and a café for patients and visitors.

MIHS is a Title 48 special taxing district and a political subdivision of the State of Arizona, with all the same rights, privileges, and immunities as a municipal corporation under the state constitution and law of the state. The facility being constructed is not subject to the zoning authority of the City of Peoria.

Maricopa County will oversee construction to ensure it complies with applicable building, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical codes adopted by the county. The county will conduct all site plan review, construction plan review, permitting, and inspections.

These activities do not have any off-site impacts. That situation was brought up by Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Hunt, who asked Whyte to show a map of the project and surrounding parcels, then asked Whyte if the parcels would be zoned. Whyte said the city is asking the owner of the surrounding parcels to amend the zoning for those properties, heretofore called Peoria Place.

MIHS plans to build on 20 acres at the southeast corner of Cotton Crossing and Grand Avenue, which is in Hunt’s Acacia district.

At that time, Purves went to the podium to address further questions from council.

He first told council, “We have a wonderful opportunity to reinvent the healthcare system … to serve the needs of Maricopa County. We’re excited about this partnership. We think you’ll be delighted with the result.”

Mayor Cathy Carlat asked Purves to explain the “reinventing healthcare” statement.

Purves responded, saying, “It’s always changing. There’s a real desire for MIHS to be a high-performing healthcare system … lower costs; integrating departments and the organization to make sure we meld healthcare needs with primary care needs.”

Along with the Peoria facility, MIHS plans to replace its teaching hospital on Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. It was the first teaching hospital in Arizona, with 350 to 450 physicians in training.

He said the new teaching hospital will teach how to be doctors for the future, not just for today.

“A good portion of ambulatory services will be here (in Peoria),” Purves said. “What we have been lacking here in the West Valley is not having the specialty services closer to the population it serves. It improves access to healthcare.”

Hunt wanted to clarify the notion it would be a hospital, with overnight stays. She said she understood it would be an 8-to-5, five-days-a-week facility.

Purves assured Hunt it would not be a hospital, but there could be times when patients stay as late as 10 p.m. or midnight, depending on the circumstances.

“It is a comprehensive facility without beds,” Purves said.

Councilmember Bill Patena asked if the facility was being designed for expansion.

Purves said, “The facility will be built for expansion; highly flexible.”

The agreement with MIHS was passed with a 7-0 vote.

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