Michigan Medicine holds groundbreaking for new center as employees protest nearby

Posted at 1:08 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-25 22:11:55-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Medicine is adding a $940 million 12-story academic medical center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The groundbreaking for the center was held Friday.

Michigan Medicine employees protested the groundbreaking, saying there is no plan for parking with the addition of the new hospital tower.

“All employees need safe, accessible parking so they can get to work on time and do the jobs that create the world class care for the patients,” said Katie Oppenheim, RN, president of the UM Professional Nurses Council, in a press release. “We don’t have enough parking now, even though gold spaces reserved for top executives are sitting empty. It’s incomprehensible that Dr. Schlissel and Dr. Spahlinger think it’s OK to spend nearly a billion dollars on a new hospital tower with no plan for parking.”

“Residents, who already work an 80-hour work week, are being asked to take shuttles to the main hospital from outlying lots, adding an extra hour each way to their schedules, which just adds to their burden and further jeopardizes their well-being,” said Robin Tarter, executive director of the UM House Officers Association, representing 1,300 resident physicians and dentists at the UM Hospital. “Physician burn-out is real and this just adds fuel to the fire.”

Michigan Medicine released details of the parking plan below:

  • · The new 690,000 gross-square-foot hospital will provide more access to care for adult patients at Michigan Medicine, where current hospital facilities often operate at more than 90% capacity.
  • · An average of 370 on-site construction jobs is projected
  • · 1,600 new full-time jobs are expected once the hospital opens
  • · Will have 264 private rooms capable of converting to intensive care
  • · Includes a state-of-the-art neurological and neurosurgical center
  • · High-level, specialty care services for cardiovascular and thoracic patients, along with advanced imaging.
  • · Will allow for conversion of existing shared rooms in University Hospital into private rooms

Parking action plan:

Michigan Medicine has been improving parking for patients and have received positive feedback since we created 250 additional parking in the garages connected to our hospitals. At the same time, we have been adding parking and transportation options for our staff. We recently conducted focus groups and are making additional changes based on the feedback to ensure that parking and transportation solutions continue to be safe, reliable and convenient.

In addition to these short-term improvements, planning will continue on our long-term parking and transportation strategies. We are confident that these options will be on-line prior to the new hospital opening in 2024.

Current parking and transportation solutions for staff

  • · We have added more buses and more direct routes to several existing parking lots.
  • · New off-site parking and transportation options are available north and east of our medical campus.
  • · We have created a dedicated staff position to assist employees with best parking and transportation options based on where they live and the shift they work.
  • · A new parking structure is being built near the hospital campus on Wall Street. This garage will open in the fall of 2020, creating more than 1,000 additional parking spaces for employees.
  • · Introduction of a new telecommuting policy for staff who are not needed onsite to provide services.
  • · Michigan Medicine is subsidizing many of these options, resulting in significantly reduced or free parking and transportation.