Hennepin Healthcare facility opens its doors to the public

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is in the middle of a major makeover.

While the hospital’s name remains the same, the health system has been renamed Hennepin Healthcare. Saturday, the county-owned health organization opened the doors to the Hennepin Health Care Clinic and Specialty Center. The facility was under construction for more than two years.

“We haven’t lost our roots by any means. HCMC is a really big part of who we are and we’ll continue to refer to our hospital as HCMC, but the system is bigger than that,” said Scott Wordelman, the Senior Vice President of Hennepin Healthcare.

The $225 million state-of-the-art facility places more than 25 primary care and specialty clinics under one roof. It’s also the first new building that has been built on the Minneapolis downtown campus in 40 years. 

“I think that the big thing that we’re doing here is making it so much more patient centric, family centric, and in addition it helps our employees,” said Dr. William Heegaard, the Chief Medical Officer with Hennepin Healthcare. 

But during an open house Saturday afternoon, some employees protested just outside the new facility’s doors. Dozens of clerical and technical workers hit the pavement to demand better pay and benefits. 

“It’s constant take back, take back, take back—we’re not having it anymore,” said Carmen Brown with AFSCME.

“I think that the wonderful thing is, we can have this amazing celebration with the public today and there’s been absolutely no disruption and we absolutely respect the rights of our fellow colleagues to express their concerns,” said Wordelman.

As both sides negotiate a new contract, Hennepin Healthcare steps into the future.

“We have assembled what might be some of the most outstanding clinicians together into a new single delivery site and I think it’s worth the opportunity,” Wordelman said.