Here's one more thing for the Lawrence Memorial Hospital board to consider as it weighs partnership offers
The struggle for the hearts and purse strings of Lawrence health care consumers will intensify this week with the opening Saturday of a second building at Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s Mt. Oread Medical Arts Centre.
The 22,000-square foot building at Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive will include the city's second out-patient surgery center -- the other is at Lawrence Memorial Hospital -- plus a medical lab, a CAT scanner and other imaging equipment.
It also will house expanded facilities for an occupational and urgent care clinic now next door in an 11-month-old building that will be used primarily for doctor's offices and a pharmacy.
Since coming to Lawrence last year, Columbia, the nation's largest for-profit health care company, has invested $11.5 million in the Mt. Oread complex, said to David Nevill, Mt. Oread's chief operating officer.
The urgent care clinic, called PromptCare, will open in its new location at noon Saturday. Hours will not change immediately -- 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 11 p.m. on weekends -- but may expand in the future, Nevill said.
The LMH emergency room is open 24 hours a day.
The new Mt. Oread surgery center will receive its first patients in July, posing a direct challenge to out-patient surgery facilities at LMH.
Columbia has proposed a 50 percent investment in LMH, the city-owned hospital at 325 Maine, and the nine members of the hospital's board of trustees have been meeting in recent weeks with city doctors to help them weigh the Columbia offer against partnership proposals from two other hospital groups.
The meetings with doctors should be finished this month. LMH board chair Ken Martinez has said at least one public hearing then would take place before the board votes on the proposals.
Meanwhile, LMH itself will open new out-patient surgery facilities in a new wing scheduled to open next spring.
In the past, Columbia officials have said that if the Nashville, Tenn., company can't buy a stake in LMH it will build a small second hospital on 8.5 acres it owns adjacent to its Mt. Oread buildings.
"We're not doing any further development on that property pending the results of the LMH deliberations," Nevill said Monday.
- LMH board to reconsider bill collections. Page 4A.