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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana University Health officials are working on plans for building a new hospital in Bloomington within the next few years.

A decision on moving ahead with the project is expected within about a month from the statewide system, IU Health Bloomington Hospital President and CEO Mark Moore told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/1AdFlLG ).

The new hospital would have about 200 inpatient beds with all private rooms, along with an outpatient surgery center. The current hospital has 279 inpatient beds.

"We have constructed a five-year regional plan that requests a highly efficient replacement facility, as well as the capital commitment to build it," Moore said.

Officials haven't decided whether the new hospital would be built at its current campus or on an 85-acre site that IU Health owns on Bloomington's west side.

Moore said the west side site's better access to the Interstate 69 route being built through Bloomington is a factor in deciding the new hospital's location. He said the new site would offer easier access to out-of-county patients, who make up nearly half of the hospital's patient base.

If the project is built at the current hospital location, some of the facility's newer portions would be kept, but the rest would have to be demolished and replaced, he said.

A budget for the proposed new hospital hasn't been set.

"If we get the go-ahead, we'll spend a year in design and development and another two years in construction," Moore said.

The hospital, which has about 2,500 employees, has followed the national trend of declining inpatient volume, in part because more surgical procedures are being done on an outpatient basis.

"That's where the growth in health care will continue to be, and you have a lot of different providers and entities competing for that market," Moore said.

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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