Kettering Health closing area ER, says no changes planned in Springfield, other sites

Health system announced last week it’s closing emergency room in Piqua, but Springfield and other centers to remain open.

Kettering Health’s announcement last week that it was closing its Piqua emergency room came as a surprise to the city of Piqua, which completed nearly half of its EMS runs to the facility in 2023.

Kettering Health operates an emergency room in Springfield as well.

The Piqua Fire Department transported approximately 44% of its EMS patients, or 1,112 people, to Kettering Health Piqua off Looney Road in 2023, Interim Fire Chief Paul Brown said. Around 56% or 1,428 people, were transported to Upper Valley Medical Center, which is located off of County Road 25-A between Piqua and Troy.

“We greatly appreciated having Kettering in town and the resources they provided,” Brown said Monday. “The scanning and the treatment and the staff, building those relationships was very beneficial for us. It was a gigantic asset to the city of Piqua and specifically to us to provide that level of our care to our citizens if they wanted to go there.”

Drive times to Kettering Health Piqua were about five minutes quicker, Brown said. Depending on where EMS was called to in the city would dictate that time, he said, but patients were also asked whether they wanted to be transported to Kettering Health Piqua or UVMC.

It was also helpful for EMS staff that they were still in town after taking patients to Kettering Health Piqua in case they were needed in the city for another emergency, Brown said.

“That paramedic would be in service at the hospital with their patient in case another run or a third run or fourth run came in. It was a really good level of service we were able to provide. We’re going to miss that,” Brown said.

UVMC receives Piqua’s “major trauma” patients, Brown said. UVMC, which is among Premier Health’s system, is an adult level 3 trauma center, according to the state of Ohio. Kettering Health’s Troy and Piqua facilities do not have trauma ratings.

Kettering Health pivots to primary care

Changing needs are what prompted the change, Kettering Health said last week.

“During the past 18 months, there has been a significant shift in the type of care needed, resulting in fewer true emergency cases and a growing need for other types of care. With community needs and long-term financial sustainability in mind, we will focus on growing primary care services at the facility,” Kettering Health said in an organizational statement.

Credit: LEE ANN YAHLE;Lee Ann Yahle 2020

Credit: LEE ANN YAHLE;Lee Ann Yahle 2020

Although the health system plans to close the ER, the organization still plans to utilize the $30 million building as it expands its primary care services in the northern Dayton region.

In addition to the 24/7 ER, the 48,000-square-foot medical complex has radiology and lab services and medical offices for primary care and specialty services.

Kettering Health’s reach into suburbs

The Piqua location was among the expansion Kettering Health began in recent years in the Dayton region.

It opened in August 2020, about a year after the completion of Kettering Health Troy, of which Kettering Health Piqua is considered a satellite location.

The health network also opened a Springfield emergency center in April of 2022. The $20 million center at the corner of Limestone Street and Home Road in a former grocery store site that was heavily rebuilt and expanded for the ER project.

The Springfield ER was billed as a 24-hour fully functioning emergency center with 70 new jobs, Kettering officials said. It was built with 14 emergency beds for treatments such as trauma and behavioral health, imaging, lab services and office space for outpatient primary care.

In recent years, Kettering Health also opened ERs in Middletown, Franklin, and Huber Heights. There are no current plans to close any additional emergency centers, according to Kettering Health.

In total, Kettering Health has 15 area medical centers and more than 120 outpatient locations throughout Western Ohio. Kettering Health’s Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek received a new $70 million, five-story tower in 2020.

This is one of the first large service changes to occur under Kettering Health’s new CEO, Michael Gentry, who took over last summer for Michael Mewhirter, former interim CEO and current chief administrative officer at Kettering Health.

Mewhirter, who is leaving the network in April, took over immediately following the departure of long-time CEO Fred Manchur, who has been the subject of complaints to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Multiple changes among leadership at Kettering Health’s corporate level have taken place since the arrival of Gentry, who has declined one-on-one interviews with the Dayton Daily News.

Jobs, Piqua facilities impacted

Kettering Health Piqua created about 65 jobs, according to previous estimates. Throughout its health system, Kettering Health has about 14,000 employees, according to previous estimates from the Ohio Department of Development.

“Our thoughts go out to the staff, the doctors, the nurses, ED staff that they have to move on to other areas throughout Kettering or figure out what they need to do to take care of their families,” Brown said.

Prior to the opening of Kettering Health Piqua, the city of Piqua had been without a hospital in its city limits since the late 1990s, when Piqua Memorial and Stouder Memorial closed to form UVMC, which consolidated hospital services in Miami County on the former Dettmer Hospital’s campus on County Road 25-A.

Piqua’s emergency services are looking at the possibility of transporting patients to Kettering Health Troy’s ER, though nothing has been decided yet, Brown said.

2019 bond financing

In 2019, Miami County agreed to issue bonds up to $200 million to Kettering Health, which were to pay for its Troy hospital as well as projects in Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties. Kettering Health Piqua is not mentioned in this agreement, though it is a satellite location of Kettering Health Troy.

With a bond, investors will loan money, which Kettering Health used to finance the Troy hospital and other projects. Hospital networks routinely seek bond financing.

Since Miami County was the one issuing the bonds to Kettering Health, this allowed Kettering to get tax-exempt bonds. The county is not liable for any of the debt, and the process doesn’t cost the county any money, the Miami County Commission said in 2018.

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