Firefighters oppose Banner's planned $400M hospital

Phoenix-based Banner Health plans to build a $400 million hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. — but local firefighters believe they should leave the area's healthcare to Mayo Clinic and HonorHealth. 

Sasha Weller, president of the Scottsdale Fire Fighters Association, expressed their concerns in a July 19 opinion piece for the Daily Independent

The firefighters do not believe the area needs more hospitals and fear a new addition would worsen the existing healthcare worker shortage, according to Mr. Weller. 

"An over-saturation of hospitals puts quality care at risk," Mr. Weller wrote. "This is not more 'competition.' This is just unwise. An unnecessary hospital could lead to increased wait times at all hospitals, and increased costs because of a shortage of medical professionals, support staff, and resources."

Banner Health shared plans for the 384,000-square-foot facility in March. The health system already has a presence in the area, including primary and specialty care, urgent care, and a 156-bed behavioral health hospital. Its health insurance division has approximately 50,000 members residing in the Northeast Valley, which includes Scottsdale, and the area's population is projected to grow 17 percent in the next decade. 

However, recent polls of Scottsdale voters show that healthcare is the last of all concerns, according to Mr. Weller.

Fire fighters have partnered with Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and Scottsdale-based HonorHealth for decades, Mr. Weller continued. They trust these systems to expand existing services if necessary, but double down that "more hospitals do not mean more doctors and nurses." 

"When it comes to emergency services, it makes no sense to cluster all your fire stations in just one part of the city. The same is true for hospitals," Mr. Weller wrote. "Simply put, Banner's proposal should be rejected by the Scottsdale City Council, not because of who is proposing it, but because of what is being proposed."

Becker's has reached out to Banner Health and will update this article if more information becomes available. 

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