Residents Question Beaumont Hospital's Plans
A recent community meeting held by Beaumont Hospital Grosse Pointe has spurred a number of questions by neighboring residents who shared their concerns with City of Grosse Pointe council this week.
Future plans of Beaumont Hospital Grosse Pointe are concerning to some of their neighbors after a recent community meeting in which officials revealed the addition of another 60-space parking lot along Notre Dame Street.
Several City of Grosse Pointe residents from the neighborhood surrounding Beaumont Hospital Grosse Pointe shared their frustration this week with city council and questioned why there was not City representation there.
The half-dozen residents who voiced their frustration Monday are feeling as if they have been left out of the process despite living in such close proximity to the hospital.
There are a variety of ongoing efforts by both the City and Beaumont Grosse Pointe that are related but not necessarily a joint effort.
City Manager Pete Dame clarified to the residents who expressed concerns that he and other city officials had urged the hospital to communicate with its residential neighbors about their future plans.
The City's master plan is one of the 2012 goals officials outlined earlier this year. One of those goals relates to rezoning the area that houses Beaumont from residential to health care.
Dame explained that hospital officials are aware of the City's plans but the City has explained to them the rezoning issue will not be addressed until after Beaumont has communicated with its residential neighbors.
Here enters a meeting held two weeks ago in which all residents who live within 300 feet of the hospital were invited to attend, during which Beaumont Hospital officials gave a presentation about the hospital, its offerings and at least one construction project to build an additional 60-space parking lot along Notre Dame Street.
Renderings were shown to those who attended the meeting, Notre Dame resident Ann DiFiore said, showing a tower in the location of the hospital's current main entrance. She also noticed some other differences in the look of the building as compared to how it looks now.
During the presentation, the residents said hospital officials repeatedly told them city officials were aware of the plans, which is why they were frustrated no representatives were at the meeting.
Most of the council acknowledged they did not know the meeting happened.
DiFiore's husband, Mario, explained he is worried he will eventually be displaced from his home. He retired from the symphony recently and has been investing heavily in the couple's home for the last several years with the goal of living out retirement there.
Now, many of the homes on his block are owned by Beaumont and a series of three in a row is where the hospital intends to put the new parking lot. The other properties they own are piecemeal, meaning there is not another series of homes giving the hospital more stretches of land.
According to City property records, the hospital has purchased at least eight nearby properties since 2008. In most cases, the hospital has paid far more than the home's value.
Beaumont Grosse Pointe's Vice President of Operations Christine Stesney-Ridenour told Patch in a separate interview that the hospital does not have any other immediate plans for the hospital or the other homes it has purchased during the last few years. She said the parking lot is the only plan in the immediate future but even that is not scheduled or submitted as a plan for the City's approval yet.
The parking lot would allow more employees to park on-site, she said. Currently there are about 150 employees who park off-site daily in rented parking spaces in the Village, a nearby church and in the summer at the Grosse Pointe Public Schools Administration Building.
Stesney-Ridenour said the hospital is trying to work on the schedule developed by city officials in rewriting the master plan and rezoning the area to a health care zone from a residential zone.
Rewriting the master plan takes a significant amount of work and there will be public meetings and hearings before it can be altered, the first of which is scheduled for April 23 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.
The process takes roughly six months and includes a lot of opportunity for public meetings, Dame said.
This means the parking lot is at least that far off but likely even longer as the hospital would have to submit plans and receive approval for such a project before it may get underway.
As for the other alterations noticed by the residents in the renderings of the building, Stesney-Ridenour acknowledged them but said there are no officials plans or even finances set aside for such projects. The renderings are simply pictures the hospital officials have sort of played around with but before any major changes could happen to the hospital, its board of directors would have to approve it, she said.
There are not any architectural plans that have been drawn up or requests for such projects at this time, she said. "It's too early to tell what the long-term plans are now," she said.
Mario DiFiore questions that, however, saying there is a reason the hospital has been purchasing homes in a piecemeal fashion.
Stesney-Ridenour said the hospital began buying homes near its property after being approached by residents who wanted to sell their homes. After that happened a few times, the hospital began approaching residents, she said. The hospital, however, has no intention of kicking people out of their homes, she said, and wants to be a good neighbor.
"At no point are we going to force anyone out of their house," she said.
Hospital officials have been proactive about interacting with their residential neighbors since Beaumont purchased the hospital from Bon Secours in 2007, Beaumont Grosse Pointe spokeswoman Karen LeDuc said.
There have been several opportunities in which the hospital has reacted and taken action as the result of concerns by the neighbors, including idling trucks on Notre Dame at early hours and park benches that neighbors felt were attracting less than desirable situations, LeDuc said. In both of those cases, the hospital acted in favor of the resident's wishes—today truck drivers are not allowed to leave their truck idling and the benches were removed.
There are still other questions residents have beyond the physical structure and changes the hospital may make in the future.
DiFiore questioned city council about what the rezoning would do to the value of his home, saying he wonders if living in a health care district means his home will be "worthless."
Judith LeBeau her husband purchased their Notre Dame street home in 2000 as their retirement home but now she thinks she's at risk of staring at a brick wall from her windows.
"This has upended our lives and that is unfair," DiFiore said. "You don't buy up these properties without...plans."
Then the hospital is seeking to have itself classified as a Level 3 certified trauma center, which also has created questions. Stesney-Ridenour said that is the result of changes to certification requirements by the state of Michigan for all hospitals and is likely something residents throughout the state will begin seeing.
Being a Level 3 Trauma Center does not change the level of care Beaumont doctors and nurses are allowed to treat, Stesney-Ridenour said. As the hospital is currently certified, employees are allowed to treat people with low-level trauma, such as that sustained in a low-speed minimal damage crash or if a person breaks a hip or needs a few stitches, she said.
Individuals with greater and higher-risk trauma are automatically transferred to St. John's Hospital, which is a certified Level 2 Trauma Center, Stesney-Ridenour said. Meaning, the Beaumont staff is to stabilize a patient who arrives at the hospital with severe trauma and then must transfer the patient to St. John's, she explained.
Level 3 certification will maintain the same level of service the hospital is allowed to provide, she said. The ambulance services that deliver patients to both hospitals are well-informed about what type of patients are to go to which hospital, she said.
Transferring patients generally happens if a person drives themselves or a family member drives them to the emergency room, she said.
The topic is likely to surface again during the City's first master plan public hearing, which is April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.