HOUGHTON – With the total square footage more than doubling, the amount of exam rooms doubling and a staffing increase of more than 50 percent, the addition and renovation to Portage Health-University Center is a major step forward for healthcare in Houghton.
“The building expansion will enable us to have more providers to meet our community’s healthcare needs as well as gain space for our existing providers,” said Jim Bogan, president and CEO of Portage Health.
The upgrade comes as no surprise to those who work at, or use, the clinic.
More than 100 patients come through the doors during an average day, including 22 students, up significantly from when the facility opened in 2000.
“Over the last 11 years we have grown to capacity and beyond,” said Dr. Bruce Trusock, who has been at the clinic since it opened. “This expansion will allow us to continue serving the community, university faculty, staff and students.”
The expansion fits into the future of healthcare.
“This is a major step forward for our community,” said Diane Gadomski, vice president-Portage Health Medical Group. “This will increase access and provide the proper environment for a Patient Centered Medical Home model of care.”
That model of care is focused on prompt access to the primary care provider. Coupled with electronic medical records, and a renewed focus on provider-patient interaction, Portage Health is meeting and exceeding the needs of sweeping healthcare reform.
“The additional space will allow more patients to receive high-quality service,” said Dr. Allison Helman, who has also been at the clinic since the beginning. “The clinic is thriving and we couldn’t be happier to see it growing.”
The University Center is the student health service center for Michigan Technological University. With student enrollment growing, university officials want a healthcare center that meets the students needs.
“We are pleased to be working hand-in-hand with Portage Health to make healthcare services more accessible to the Michigan Tech community,” said Glenn Mroz, president of the university.
Portage Health added a provider in 2008, but the demand remained, leading to today’s announcement.
“I was hired three years ago to enhance the availability of healthcare to students through our walk-in clinic in the afternoons, said Melissa Becker, PA-C. “The added space with examination rooms will allow us to better serve both our patients in the community and the faculty, staff and students at Michigan Tech.”
Michigan Tech’s Exercise Science Department and athletic teams are also served by the University Center as students work with Portage Health staff for research and internships, and student athletes receive all of their care from Portage Health staff.
“It is a vital center for taking care of the university athletes through our Sports Medicine Institute,” said Trusock, who has been working with Michigan Tech athletes for 31 years.
The combination of a dozen new jobs at the facility and a planned cost of $4.3 million, means the project is a major boost to the local economy.
Moyle Construction of Houghton was awarded the bid for the construction, which should be completed by August of 2012.
“We are very pleased Portage Health has selected the Moyle Construction team to help expand their presence in the community,” said Peter Dupuis, vice president of estimating at Moyle. “This building expansion is a marquee project for the area and we are thrilled with their selection. We look forward to delivering Portage Health a great building on Michigan Tech’s campus.”