Essentia Health to add 32 ICU beds to new $915M hospital

Citing a changed healthcare landscape, Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health will add 32 intensive care unit beds to its Vision Northland hospital project.

Adding the 32 ICU beds represents a 10 percent increase in patient rooms and will bring the total cost of the project to $915 million, according to the Star Tribune. The Vision Northland project calls for building a replacement facility for the health system's St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

Essentia was going to leave one of the planned inpatient floors empty, but the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated a need for more ICU beds, according to hospital officials.

"There has been a general shortage of staffed ICU beds across the country, and by doing this now it ensures that we'll be better prepared to meet those needs," Jon Pryor, MD, president of the health system's eastern region, told the Star Tribune. 

The addition of the 32 rooms will bring the total to 342 single-patient rooms at St. Mary's Medical Center. There will be one double-occupancy room in the neonatal ICU for twins.

"We are taking advantage of construction being underway already instead of waiting and remodeling later," Dan Cebelinski, Essentia's director of facilities, said in a news release. "This will result in less disruption to the day-to-day flow in a busy hospital and provide a more peaceful atmosphere for our patients."

The new hospital is expected to open in 2023. The current hospital will be demolished when the new one opens. 

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