Traverse City News and Events

Munson Eyes Petoskey Market

By Art Bukowski | Oct. 19, 2023

Munson Healthcare plans a substantial new facility in Petoskey, an expansion designed to offer a “new front door” for care in that community.

Munson plans to acquire the former Art Van Furniture building on Anderson Road on the south side of town. The 55,000 square-foot building will be remodeled to accommodate primary and urgent care, specialty clinics for orthopedics, cardiology, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology, as well as diagnostic imaging and lab services.

The move is part of Munson’s recently announced Regional Care Transformation Plan (RCTP) and marks its second but most significant foray into the Petoskey area, which as of now is served mostly by McLaren Northern Michigan. The first incursion occurred when Munson acquired a Harbor Springs primary care practice early last year.

The proposed “Community Heath Hub” in Petoskey is tied to a key goal of Munson’s RCTP, which is to expand access to primary care and various outpatient procedures.

“We’re really excited about this Petoskey location because it really embodies exactly what we’re talking about as it relates to expanding access,” Munson Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Laura Glenn tells The Ticker.

From a business perspective, the move will allow Munson to substantially increase its presence in an area in which it’s nearly nonexistent.

“The Petoskey region is one of the larger population centers in Northern Michigan, and we really haven’t been serving that pocket,” Glenn says. “From a growth perspective, we really feel that this is an opportunity for us…and a natural progression.”

Much more so than downstate, northern Michigan has traditionally been broken into medical system “turfs,” with regional systems like Munson and McLaren being the nearly exclusive care providers in their areas. Glenn acknowledged the Petoskey area has traditionally been McLaren’s backyard, but said Munson’s move will serve to improve care for thousands in the area by providing more access to care.

“What we’re hearing from our patients and from our providers is an increasing demand for access to services, and (patients) are just not able to access certain specialists or outpatient services from McLaren,” Glenn says. “We see a need in the community, and we’re going to step in and help fill it.”

McLaren Northern Michigan declined comment on Munson’s move when contacted by The Ticker.

“As we have always been, McLaren Northern Michigan remains committed to the communities of northern Michigan, where we continue to expand access to our award-winning care for the 22 counties we’re privileged to serve,” the system said in an emailed statement provided by spokesman David Jones. “Our attention and efforts remain solely focused on our patients and further enhancing service offerings to provide for their needs."

Munson has submitted rezoning applications and hopes to close on the purchase of the former Art Van building before the end of the year, pending the approval of those applications. Remodeling will begin next year and the facility could be open by then. The total estimated price tag of purchase and buildout is $17 million.

Glenn said the facility will provide around 50 new jobs, with no current employees expected to be relocated.

“Across the industry, recruitment is a challenge, but what we have working for us in this situation is we have time to recruit for those positions,” Glenn says.

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