Health care providers flock to Kenosha County

Several major building projects in the works

On Oct. 1, under an expanded affiliation with the Wauwatosa-based health system, Kenosha’s United Hospital System changed its name to Froedtert South. Now part of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network are United’s Kenosha Medical Center and its St. Catherine’s Medical Center campus in Pleasant Prairie.

And more is in the works. A new plan from Kenosha-based Bear Development LLC for a commercial development near the corner of state Highways 31 and 165 in Pleasant Prairie includes a four-story, 50,000-square-foot medical office building, which Froedtert South plans to occupy.

It’s the latest development in a trend of Milwaukee-based health care systems making plans to expand their footprint in the growing Kenosha County market.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin expects to break ground before the year’s end on a new 30,000-square-foot clinic off of Highway 50, just west of I-94. The new clinic, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2018, will combine two of the hospital’s primary care locations, as well as its Kenosha Clinic.

The facility – the cost of which the hospital did not disclose – will offer expanded services, including imaging and radiology, laboratory, adolescent medicine, endocrinology, neurology, pulmonology, rehabilitation and developmental therapies, sleep services, and otolaryngology and audiology.

Juliet Kersten, vice president at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, said the new clinic will provide additional specialty services and increase accessibility for Kenosha-area residents.

“The Kenosha clinic continues our care closer to home philosophy,” Kersten said. “We have seen an increase in Kenosha families choosing Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin providers, including pediatricians. The new clinic allows Children’s Hospital to expand specialty care services that Kenosha families currently have to travel to the Milwaukee area to get.”

Aurora Health Care, meanwhile, is in the midst of expanding its presence in Kenosha with a new 200,000-square-foot development project. Earlier this year, the Milwaukee-based hospital system announced plans to build a 100,000-square-foot medical office building and a 100,000-square-foot outpatient care center on 158 acres between 60th and 71st streets in Kenosha, west of I-94. The new facility is expected to create an estimated 140 new professional health care jobs.

Aurora has been in the Kenosha market since 1995, when it opened an outpatient health center, which was later expanded into a full service hospital, Aurora Medical Center Kenosha, at 10400 75th St. The medical center has proven to be one of Aurora’s most profitable. In 2016, the hospital’s net income was $63.5 million, or 30.3 percent of net patient revenue. That’s compared to United Hospital System’s Kenosha hospital income of $20.4 million, or 6.6 percent of net patient revenue, in 2016.

Aurora has continued to expand in Kenosha and the Illinois market, which it entered in 2009 with the acquisition of Northern Lake Medical Ltd., a 43-employee physician group with primary care clinics in Gurnee, Lindenhurst and Fox Lake, Illinois.

Aurora opened a 27,000-square-foot health center offering pain management and ophthalmology services at 6815 118th Ave. in Kenosha and a 38,000-square-foot cancer center at 6811 118th Ave. in June 2014.

Allan Baumgarten, a Minnesota-based analyst who releases an annual report on the health care payer and provider markets in the state, said health care providers are looking to Kenosha County, in part, because Waukesha and Ozaukee counties are seen as saturated.

While Kenosha County’s population is growing, the rate of growth is about half as fast as in Waukesha and Ozaukee. Meanwhile, median household incomes in Kenosha County, at $54,918, are higher than Milwaukee County ($43,873) but less than Waukesha ($76,545) and Ozaukee ($76,433).

“There are two zip codes in Kenosha (County), 53142 and 53158 (Pleasant Prairie), with above average household incomes,” Baumgarten said. “They are probably getting most of the new investment. I think each of the systems wants to strengthen the pipeline of Kenosha County patients coming to their main facilities and to their specialists.”

Baumgarten said the planned development of Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion facility in Mount Pleasant, while located in neighboring Racine County, will likely also generate more business for health providers in the Kenosha area.

Read more at the BizTimes.

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