Delafield officials question ‘neighborhood hospital’ proposal
Plan commissioners seek more details

BY KELLY SMITH - Special to The Freeman

Dec. 2, 2016

DELAFIELD — The fate of a proposed “neighborhood hospital” is uncertain following a Wednesday Plan Commission meeting where there appeared to be more questions than answers about the development proposal on the northeast corner of the Hwy. 83/Interstate-94 interchange.

City Engineer Mike Court of Short Elliott Hendrickson said the developers will have to present more detailed site and construction plans before the Plan Commission can hold public hearings and deliberate some of the zoning and land use issues posed by the development proposal.

Court told the commission that a hospital was not a permitted use in the zoning district where the site is located.

He also said the general development agreement that regulates development and land use on the property provides for a maximum 12,000 square-foot building.

He said other land use and zoning restrictions make the building “a very tight fit” on the parcel of land, located west of the Holiday Inn Express.

A typical neighborhood hospital is a single-story, 18,000 square-foot building staffed with physicians, nurses and other medical staff and is equipped with an in-house laboratory, CT, x-ray and ultrasound equipment as well as a pharmacy, according to Denise Valenta, division manager of health care for Embree Asset Group Inc.

Embree Asset Group Inc. is part of the Embree Group of Companies of Georgetown, Texas, which provides nationwide real estate development, design/build, general construction and program management services for a wide range of industries including health care, according to its website.

Valenta told the commission the purpose of a neighborhood hospital is to provide emergency medical and inpatient nursing services to consumers in nearby neighborhoods.

She said the hospitals are typically located in retail areas where potential consumers shop and congregate.

“It has an emergency room and an 8-bed hospital,” she explained.

The emergency department treats minor injuries that do not require the more advanced care of a specialist, she added.

She said the neighborhood hospital “is much, much more” than an urgent care facility because it has its own laboratory facilities, can provide more advanced care and, if necessary, arrange for patients to be transferred to hospitals.

Valenta said the Delafield neighborhood hospital would be the first in Wisconsin.

Operational history?

Commissioners asked questions — some of them unanswered — about the operational and marketing history of neighborhood hospitals.

When Commissioner Tim Aicher asked about information regarding neighborhood hospitals in other parts of the country, she did not name any specific locations.

“How many of these neighborhood hospitals are in operation?” asked Commissioner Jim Reiher.

“I know of several that are under construction,” Valenta replied.

Reiher, a lawyer, responded, “I asked about hospital operations, not construction.”

She did not provide information regarding hospital operations.

After the meeting, The Freeman asked Valenta why Delafield was selected as the inaugural site in Wisconsin for a neighborhood hospital.

She said she could not respond because the information was confidential but there were other sites in Wisconsin being considered.

When the reporter asked if she could identify other metropolitan areas in the country where neighborhood hospitals were located, she said she could not.

She said she was representing a client whom she would not identify.