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Vacant Michigan Hospital i Lincoln Park To Reopen As Coronavirus Overflow Site

LINCOLN PARK, MI - A vacant Lincoln Park hospital will serve as an 80-bed overflow hospital amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Wayne County officials on Tuesday approved that $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds be used to transform the former Vibra Hospital into a working, overflow facility. The approval clears the way for Insight Surgical Hospital to overhaul the Vibra Hospital with the capacity to grow from 80 to 440 beds as needed to deal with the crisis.

"Many hospitals are at capacity, we must continue to act quickly amid this crisis to support our health care system," said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. "Insight Surgical Hospital can provide immediate relief in Wayne County through increased beds and help decrease the chance of COVID-19 exceeding overall capacity. Over the long-term, there is also great potential here as a state-of-the-art neuroscience center in Lincoln Park."

After its usage for the coronavirus, the facility would potentially be converted into a state-of-the-art surgical speciality center with a focus on neuroscience, officials said in a news release. Insight Surgical Hospital plans to invest $1.5 million in short-term renovations and $20 million over the long-term, and expects to create more than 300 jobs at the facility.

"The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 is an existential threat to our community," said Dr. Jawad Shah, a renowned board-certified neurosurgeon and the CEO of Insight, and Chair of the Board of Directors of Insight Surgical Hospital. "It has consumed the collective resources of our country, the repercussions of which will be felt for generations. Time is of the essence for all in the health care community to respond to this unprececedented challenge to save precious lives. We hope that Insight, through God's grace, can participate in the mosaic of care needed to respond to the urgent needs of our community."

Insight Surgical Hospital will convert the vacant hospital in Lincoln Park and use its existing Certificate of Need to quickly open with an 80-bed capacity as soon as Friday. The facility has the potential to grow into a 440-bed facility as needed to help accommodate coronavirus patients.

"It is critical that we bring every resource we can to bear as we fight the devastating impact of COVID-19," Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell (D-Detroit) said. "Through today's action, we are putting an important resource back into use at this very important time in everyone's life."

The 128,000 square-foot Vibra Hospital is located on a 14-acre site on West Outer Drive in Lincoln Park. The $500,000 is part of the CDBG funds allocated to Wayne County under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

"This facility has been underutilized for years. Located on Outer Drive it is ideally positioned to create hospital space for patients from Downriver and Detroit as COVID-19 cases surge," said Thomas E. Karnes, Mayor of Lincoln Park. "Beyond serving an important role in the regional response to COVID-19, we are excited for the long-term prospects at this site. Having a functioning hospital there again would spur other investment and also provide a boost to some of the important development under way in that area of Lincoln Park."

Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga (D-Lincoln Park) said the grant shows County officials are unified in their desire to help patients and health care providers.

"If this pandemic has shown us anything, it's that we must all join together to find ways to meet the needs of those affected by COVID-19 and those who care for them," she said. "The community is so deserving to have this hospital functioning again and that is why we moved so quickly on this issue. I am grateful to those who have come together to make this happen."

This article originally appeared on the Detroit Patch

Joey Oliver


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