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Jan 24, 2014 12:49 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucson hospitals investing millions in upgrades

TUCSON - Local hospitals are spending millions of dollars on expansions.

Thursday, Carodelet Saint Mary's revealed its new Heart and Vascular Institute which cost $17 million.

Carondelet's CEO, Jim Beckmann, said the facility is necessary to keep up with the market.

"We need to have state-of-the-art equipment," Beckmann said. "We need to have a state-of-the-art facility. We need to have the top physicians who are masters of their craft. And we believe ultimately, that will provide an appropriate return on our investment."

The latest Census data shows 16.6 percent of Pima County residents are at least 65 years old, which is more than the state average of 14.8 percent and the national average of 13.7 percent.

Beckmann said the new health care law is not much of a factor yet.

"Care is being delivered in different places today," Beckmann said. "And the Affordable Care Act will affect that more in the future than it does today. But medicine is moving, and we need to move with it."

Northwest Medical Center revealed its new $50 million surgical wing Saturday.

In an emailed statement, a representative wrote, "This expansion provides us with more capacity to care for local residents, which will be increasingly important as Arizona expands its Medicaid program and more people have access to insurance under the health insurance exchanges."

Carondelet recruited Dr. Derek von Haag out of Phoenix 3 years ago.

"If you don't stay up with the most modern technology, you can't really get involved with things that are coming down the road," he said, "or even get involved in research projects."

Beckmann said the expansion helps more than just his hospitals' patients.

"Investments in health care are good investments," he said. "They're like investments in education. They support the overall growth of the community."

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