Head of Sun Cities hospitals talks expansion plans

Banner adding capacity for fast-growing West Valley

Posted 2/27/20

Like the rest of the West Valley, Banner’s hospitals seem to be growing by leaps and bounds, with high-rise construction cranes and other heavy equipment churning the earth at locations in Sun …

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Head of Sun Cities hospitals talks expansion plans

Banner adding capacity for fast-growing West Valley


Like the rest of the West Valley, Banner’s hospitals seem to be growing by leaps and bounds, with high-rise construction cranes and other heavy equipment churning the earth at locations in Sun City and Peoria.

Sharon Lind, CEO for the Banner Boswell and Del E. Webb campuses, spoke to Daily Independent this week about her new role in the company and plans to expand services to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

She started the post in December after serving as CEO at the Banner Ironwood and Banner Goldfield hospitals, a job Ms. Lind said prepared her well for the task at hand.

“Our campuses in the Southeast Valley are like Del Webb and Boswell a bit,” she said, explaining that there, as in the West Valley, one campus remains more focused on older clients, with many retirees and seasonal residents, while the other has expanded its services to a broader, younger clientele in a rapidly growing community.

The Sun City West campus, adjacent to the retirement community and sandwiched between Surprise and North Peoria, has diversified its offerings to meet the needs of that broader, more diverse demographic, she said.

“I was thrilled to get the opportunity to come to, as we call it, the Bos-Webb team,” she said. “We call ourselves one team and we’ve focused on Del Webb, where we have a strong women’s health component, obstetrics, gynecological and children’s and pediatrics. So, we’re trying to accommodate those younger families moving into the Surprise and Peoria markets.”

Though there is less demand for such services at their Sun City campus, Boswell’s mission is also important to the community, she said.

“At Banner Boswell, with the Sun City population, we certainly serve that older demographic. They are retirees that are permanent or seasonal residents. But we have a very high level of care and advanced cardiovascular and thoracic program,” Ms. Lind said.

She said the Boswell campus has capacity for tertiary care, or specialized consultative care, which is ideal for those seeking referral-based inpatient care.

“There’s a higher acuity of care that’s provided, just given the needs of the community, with very highly trained surgeons and physician partners,” Ms. Lind added. “So, we’re very proud of the quality of safe and reliable care we provide.”

The Boswell campus also features orthopedic services, as well as oncology care in partnership with the Banner M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, she said.

Banner has two regional cancer centers, with one in Phoenix at their University Medical Center and another in the East Valley at Banner Gateway. The company may seek to expand those services, potentially adding another regional center to serve the West Valley, Ms. Lind said.

“As we contemplate expanded oncological services in the Northwest Valley, I think it’s a great opportunity to serve those needs and we can leverage the clinical protocols and integrative comprehensive care model that M.D. Anderson does so well within our Banner health system,” she said. “It would more than likely be in the Northwest Valley and it could reside somewhere near or close to Boswell, though that is yet to be determined. We already provide comprehensive oncological care, but as we look to expand that, we’re having some of those strategic discussions.”

The health care provider also has construction projects at and near their Sun City facility, including a post-acute care facility for patient rehabilitation after surgical procedures, as well as the ongoing ER department expansion at Boswell, Ms. Lind said.

“We’re going to be opening an in-patient, specialty rehab facility that will be opening here in the Northwest Valley near the Boswell campus,” she said. “That will be opening in late summer this year. It will be dedicated to folks who’ve had surgery and need some rehab services prior to transitioning back home.”

The 56-bed facility — located nearby Banner’s Sun City and Sun City West hospitals, as well as its level 1 trauma center at the Banner Thunderbird campus — can also serve those suffering from a spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, neurological disorders and other conditions, according to a company press release.

Developed in partnership with the Sun Health Foundation, the other big project is Banner’s Boswell ER upgrade, which will cost about $106 million to complete. The upgraded facility will be able to serve more patients each year, Ms. Lind said.

“It will provide us the brand-new emergency room department,” she said. “It will increase our capacity for patients and it will also create a new entrance point for the campus. So, we will have one, central common lobby and entrance for Banner Boswell and its very transformative for that campus.”

The new entrance area will feature a retail pharmacy, gift shop, admitting desk, chapel and a small café, among other amenities.

On the floors above the new ER, a patient tower will provide shell space for future expansion, including in-patient rooms, state-of-the art equipment and, eventually, a helicopter pad on the roof, according to Ms. Lind.

 “The emergency department will open in November of this year and we have plans for a grand opening, where folks can come see the new ER and lobby,” she said.

When complete, the facility will encompass 40,000 square feet to accommodate up to 60,000 patients annually — an increase of 15,000 over the facility’s current capacity, according to a Banner press release.

The Sun Health Foundation is conducting its Generosity for Generations campaign as it seeks to raise $34 million through community donations to support the ER expansion and patient tower project.

Built by McCarthy Building Companies, the new tower is slated for completion early next year.

Learn more at SunHealth.org/Generosity.