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Summa Health System Plans $65 Million Emergency Services Growth

Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media, March 22, 2010

In response to both increasing market share and population in its service area, Ohio-based Summa Health System has announced a $65 million plan to grow its comprehensive emergency services network.

The plan includes the development of free-standing 24/7 emergency departments on the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina campus that is currently under construction, and in the city of Green to complement services offered at Summa Health Center at Green. In addition, the emergency departments at Summa Akron City Hospital, Summa Barberton Hospital, and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital will expand to allow for increased capacity—as well as improve the patient experience, said Summa.

"The bottom line for us is we've had a strategic plan for our emergency services network for years, and we're at this point where we are now representing five counties," says Summa Health System President and CEO Thomas J. Strauss. "So we announced a comprehensive plan to build our network of emergency services by building two new full-service emergency departments and expanding three existing ERs."

Summa's emergency departments saw more than 227,000 patients in 2009.

Currently, Summa Akron City Hospital's emergency department consists of 43 beds and approximately 19,000 square feet. The expansion at Summa Akron City will bring the number of beds to 75 and increase the size to 84,000 square feet, which Strauss says was a badly needed response to patient volume.

"It was designed to treat about 52,000 patients—last year we treated 78,000 in that space," Strauss says. "So for us, because it's Level 1 trauma, where there is only four Level 1 Traumas in all of northeast Ohio, we felt the need to really expand that in light of the comprehensiveness of services."

The expansion will include enhanced radiological testing capabilities with two radiography units, ultrasound, and a 64-slice CT scan unit dedicated to the emergency department.

In addition, the renovated facility will meet current and future patient needs, including additional capacity and private rooms that are large enough to accommodate families and loved ones at the bedside during the care process, Strauss says.

"What's exciting is it's going to include new amenities for patients that will enhance patient experience," Strauss says.

Plans are still being developed to expand and renovate the emergency departments at Summa Barberton Hospital and Summa Wadsworth Rittman Hospital. Also under development are the construction plans for the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina and Green emergency departments, which are both expected to open in 2011.

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