It’s beautiful when the planets align and a plan comes together just like you had dared to hope it would – or maybe even a little bit better than you dreamed. And when it happens, it’s worth sharing the moment with as many people as you can.
Indiana University, our heath care partner Indiana University Heath and the city of Bloomington had one of those days today.
The university and health care system hosted an event this morning to share the news that IU Health would locate its Bloomington hospital on the IU Bloomington campus as part of a regional academic health care campus that will be unlike much of anything seen in the country.
Before I get into why this is possibly a historic day for all involved, a little recent history. IU Health Bloomington Hospital currently is located in downtown Bloomington, but the aging facility is in need of a replacement to reflect the realities of today’s medical care that place a much greater emphasis on outpatient treatment. As much as many in the community would like to see the current facility renovated, the hospital board has determined that isn’t feasible for a number of reasons.
The hospital appeared headed to a site outside the Bloomington city limits on land that it owns, until IU President Michael McRobbie, who is a member of the corporate board of directors at IU Health, raised the prospect of a partnership between the university and hospital. Sometimes an idea makes so much sense you don’t need to spend years agonizing over it. In this case, an agreement in principle was reached in just a few months.
Under the agreement announced today, IU Health Bloomington Hospital will lease land near the IU Technology Park at a favorable rate and build a new hospital. At the same time, IU will build a health education building next to the hospital that will give the campus much-needed room to grow programs such as nursing, medical education, speech and hearing therapies and social work.
Many of these disciplines turn away qualified students for lack of space, a problem that will be adressed with this plan. In addition, students will benefit from increased lab and simulation space as well as greater opportunities to work with practicing physicians who will be located literally next door.
The city of Bloomington wins by keeping its hospital in the city limits in a location that is easily accessible by roadways and public transit. What’s more, the site offers plenty of room to grow to eventually make room for the medical offices and labs that inevitably locate near a major hospital.
Academic heath centers aren’t a new concept. What’s different here, though, is the coming together of two independent institutions to partner around a shared vision. Typically, academic heath centers exist where the university also is sole owner of an affiliated hospital system, which is not the case with IU Health.
A lot of work went into today’s announcement, which IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel called a “win-win-win” at this morning’s unveiling. Much more work remains over the next few years to turn this shared commitment into a reality. The true impact of today’s announcement, however, may be best felt a decade or more down the road as the campus matures and realizes its full potential to serve students and improve the health outcomes of the entire region.
For now, though, there is plenty to celebrate. After all, it’s beautiful when a plan falls into place.
To view today’s event, which features remarks from leadership across IU, IU Health and the city of Bloomington, click here.