A public health crisis is hard enough for any community to get through, but it might be a little easier if there’s a hospital in town. While all can hope that there isn’t another pandemic for many years to come, at least Maricopa will be more prepared with a wider diversity of health care options, thanks to one of the most anticipated projects of the year.

Quickly rising from a vacant lot between the State Route 347 overpass and Maricopa High School is a big milestone for a growing city like Maricopa — its first real hospital, Exceptional Healthcare. And while it may not be as big as some of the massive complexes found in the Valley, this will provide the city with a 24-hour emergency room with staff ready to help in times of need.

“We’re coming to fill the need for access of care,” said Exceptional Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Bruce McVeigh. “For us, it’s about providing the right level of care for patients. We could build any size, but what’s right for the patients?”

The hospital is being built in phases, with the first one scheduled to open in November. That will include eight emergency rooms and nine for inpatient care. It’s unclear how many doctors and nurses will be staffed there at this time, but McVeigh said it will be the “appropriate” number to provide the quality of care that the company expects.

The company will also incorporate some lessons learned during the pandemic. McVeigh said a lot of lessons were learned about keeping staff protected while also accepting hundreds of patients a day with minimal physical contact. He said curbside services and paperless registration are likely to stay, as the hospital does what it can to get more digital, and thus more efficient.

The hospital will contract with local ground and air EMS companies to transport people in, and the Texas-based company promises a state-of-the-art facility in what will be their first location outside of the Lone Star State. But what McVeigh says makes Exceptional Healthcare so, well, exceptional, is the way they treat the people who come through their doors. And he said that’s what will keep it going strong should a larger hospital ever get built in Maricopa.

“The level of concierge medicine we’re providing, you’re not going to get at a big-box hospital,” McVeigh said. “You’re not going to get the one-on-one attention, with minimal wait times. You’re going to be treated really well, like you’re in a five-star hotel. That’s in everything we do for the patients and their families. So if a big hospital came in, no patient is going to get that experience. That’s not what they do. That’s what we do and we do it well. Once a patient gets a taste of it, they’re going to love it.”

The news that a hospital was finally coming to Maricopa was met with much fanfare, as residents have been asking for this since the building boom first started. The happiness could only have been enhanced by the announcement being made in the heart of the pandemic, giving everybody some much-needed good news.

McVeigh said it was clear even before they made the decision that the city and community would be good partners in making the hospital a success, which made it all the easier to choose Maricopa for its first non-Texas location. Since then, he said the process of making it a reality has been as smooth as could be asked for, and he expressed gratitude for all those who helped.

“The mayor, all the folks at the planning commission, they’ve been amazing to work with,” McVeigh said. “They’re thrilled to have us coming. They’ve bent over backward to help us, and we’ve enjoyed immensely working with them.

“It’s always good to be wanted.”