Banner Health plans to extend farther into the south East Valley with a medical campus near Johnson Ranch southeast of Queen Creek.
Banner purchased 80 acres in late March south of Combs Road on Gantzel Road in Pinal County to develop a campus that will include a hospital and associated services, said Bill Byron, a spokesman for the nonprofit medical group.
"The idea of this is to provide early primary-care services first on that campus," followed later by a full-service hospital when the area’s population warrants it, Byron said.
Banner hopes to break ground on initial facilities early next year, and it would take another 12 to 18 months before medical services would be available.
The Pinal County medical center is the latest step to shift Banner operations toward the south East Valley.
The group announced plans in January to close its oldest East Valley hospital in Mesa and build a new one in Gilbert in 2007, a move that would avoid massive renovation costs at Banner Mesa Medical Center while capitalizing on surging growth to the southeast.
Banner Mesa CEO Becky Kuhn will lead the new, fullservice Gilbert hospital when it opens with 165 beds on 60 acres at the southwest corner of Higley Road and U.S. 60.
The $189 million facility will focus on obstetrics, general pediatrics, emergency services, general surgery and other services.
Still, the planned Gilbert campus is about 20 miles from the Pinal County site, which will be developed in phases, beginning with an emergency services, diagnostic imaging and ambulatory surgery center.
A medical office building for physicians is also part of initial site development.
Phoenix-based Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, operating 20 hospitals, four long-term care centers and other services in seven states.