Mercy Health-Springfield said Friday it will expand into Enon with a new $14 million medical center set to open late next year.
The project’s centerpiece will be a freestanding 11,000 square-foot emergency department. The facility will include 10 exam rooms, a lab and imaging center as well as radiology and ultrasound services. Mercy Health said it will also offer a chest pain center to evaluate emergency cardiac care needs at the site, as well as a fast track sports medicine program for sports-related injuries.
The new facility also brings Mercy Health closer to the Dayton market, setting the health system up to better pull patients from a market now dominated by Premier Health and Kettering Health Network. Mercy – poised to merge and become one of the largest U.S. health systems – has been inching its way closer to the Dayton market from both the south and the east. Mercy is the biggest employer in Springfield.
Patients in Enon are currently underserved, so the new facility will allow those patients access to care close to home, said Matt Caldwell, CEO and senior vice president of Mercy Health-Springfield. Caldwell said it’s not yet clear how many people will be employed at the new medical facility.
Additional services could be offered in the future depending on demand from patients, he said.
“By putting in a freestanding emergency department, we hope to bring the emergent services closer to them so they don’t have to drive as far as Springfield,” Caldwell said.
Freestanding ERs are on the rise in the region and around Ohio. Ohio had the second highest number of freestanding ERs in the U.S. as of 2015, ranked behind Texas and just above Colorado. The satellite facilities can help relieve overcrowding at main hospital ERs and provide access to critical care in underserved areas.
“It’s becoming more frequent because it’s a lower capital cost to entry to get emergent care into communities further from urban centers,” Caldwell said.
He estimated between 69,000 and 70,000 patients visit the Springfield Regional Medical Center’s emergency room annually, so providing another option for patients in Enon and Yellow Springs will alleviate some crowding in Springfield and allow the Springfield hospital to better streamline its services. He said that will lead to better patient satisfaction both in Springfield and in Enon once the new site opens.
ERs also act as gateways to hospitals and where they are built helps determine who gets steered into a health network.
Harvard Medical School researchers found in a 2016 study that in Texas and Ohio, freestanding ERs were located in ZIP codes with population growth, higher incomes, a higher proportion of the population with private insurance, a lower proportion of the population with Medicaid, and more existing hospital ERs. Private insurance reimburse hospitals more than government insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
The facility will be open 24 hours a day and there will be a helipad for patients needing immediate transfer to other sites after stabilization if necessary.
The project will be built on as 12-acre site owned by Mercy on Dayton-Springfield road at exit 24 along I-675. Other clinical services such as primary care, cardiology and specialty services will be available at Mercy Health’s medical office building in Enon, located at 240 Enon Ave.
Mercy Health is planning a dedication ceremony to show off its plans at the site in October this year.
Mercy is moving ahead with a proposed merger with Bon Secours. Once combined, it would create a health system with $8 billion in revenue, which experts said is part of a growing trend of increasing consolidation in the industry.
The new Mercy-Bon Secours combined entity would be one of the 20 largest health systems in the U.S. and the fifth largest Catholic health system. It would employ 57,000 associates and more than 2,100 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians.
Mercy officials said the two entities are working with a third-party consultant to determine the next steps as a final agreement is negotiated. It’s not clear exactly how the deal will affect patients in Clark and Champaign counties, or Mercy’s headquarters in Cincinnati. The home office for Bon Secours is located in Maryland.
The deal is expected to close later this year, according to Mercy.
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