As published in Toledo Business Journal - October 1, 2018

Rendering of Van Wert Health’s expansion project

Rendering of Van Wert Health’s expansion project

Van Wert Health plans $45M expansion

Project follows $9.3M investment for separate facility in area

Van Wert Health, an independent, non-profit community hospital and physician group that provides comprehensive healthcare to Van Wert County and the surrounding region, is planning to expand and improve critical areas of its hospital. The new $45 million expansion will be built on the site of the current Van Wert Health main campus and construction is expected to take approximately two years.

“The health providers at Van Wert Health are top notch and the growing healthcare needs of our community are simply different today than they were 58 years ago when the hospital was built,” said Jim Pope, president and CEO of Van Wert Health. “Upgrades are needed and after much research, we determined it was more cost-effective to build a new facility which will enhance the services we offer, rather than to attempt to upgrade and retrofit the original facilities. We face capacity issues on a daily basis, and improving and expanding healthcare options is integral to our mission to be the best community hospital.”

When complete, the current hospital will be anchored by a new two-story, 84,000 square-foot facility which will help further address the healthcare needs of residents and visitors in the area.

“This addition to our campus will greatly benefit our ability to take care of more patients and to give them the best experience for all of their healthcare needs right here in Van Wert,” added Pope. “Over time, the current hospital building will be upgraded and will house business offices and help with our expanding physician office space needs. This major expansion will raise the bar on what a community hospital can – and should – be.”

According to Van Wert Health officials, plans for the major expansion include:

“It’s astonishing to see how far we’ve come with the support of the community. We are making history with this expansion project, which will ensure the best healthcare possible is available for Van Wert and the surrounding communities, right in their own backyard,” said Tim Jurczyk, chairperson of the board of trustees for Van Wert Health.

The Van Wert Health North campus

The Van Wert Health North campus

“The City of Van Wert is happy with the Van Wert Health announcement that they are expanding the inpatient and surgical facilities of the hospital,” said Van Wert City Mayor, Jerry Mazur. “By making such a significant investment in our community, Van Wert Health is making it clear that they are committed to providing the very best care to the people in northwest Ohio.”

An official groundbreaking ceremony took place in mid-August and construction is expected to start in mid-September. Throughout the construction process, traffic on the main campus is expected to be temporarily re-routed, noted officials. Patients and visitors are requested to carefully watch for directional signs to navigate safely around the construction zones. Signs will be clearly posted and updates will be posted in local media outlets and on social media.

The expanded hospital is being designed from the ground up by Design Collaborative, Inc. and the construction project will be managed by Weigand Construction, both out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This project follows Van Wert Health’s construction of a new $9.3 million, 19,000 square foot outpatient and ambulatory center called Van Wert Health North. The project broke ground in July 2017 and began seeing patients in late June.

Van Wert Health North is located at Towne Center, directly east of Goodwill Industries International, Inc. The facility features a walk-in clinic, family medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, occupational health, a specialist clinic, laboratory, and imaging services, which includes open MRI, CT scan, and x-ray capabilities.

The open MRI is a 1.2-tesla advanced high-field magnet, which, according to the hospital, is the strongest open air scanner available in the region.

“It’s great for patients and their families because it provides a more comfortable setting for patients,” Pope said last year. “Patients that are a little claustrophobic will be better off because it’s open almost all the way around and they can see from all sides. The second piece of that is it’s able to accommodate larger patients up to 600 pounds.”

The walk-in clinic, according to hospital officials, helps people with medical issues that aren’t quite an emergency, but need to be seen that day such as lacerations, allergies / allergic reactions, ankle sprains, asthma, infections, strep throat, strains, and other non-emergency medical issues. According to Pope, the walk-in clinic functions as an extension of a patient’s own primary care provider, whether the patient lives in the community or is visiting from another part of the country.

“It is a project that was born out of a conversation related to the increasing costs of healthcare to the patient. What we were looking to do is create an opportunity for patients to be able to seek healthcare, but do it in a non-hospital environment,” said Pope. “We wanted to try to create something for the patient in which would make it visible, accessible, and affordable.”

According to Pope, the walk-in clinic is a way to make healthcare at this facility more affordable. The clinic was set up to be more like one’s own family doctor office rather than an urgent care facility. It allows Van Wert Health North to operate independently and send bills separately from the hospital, which in turn, helps lessen the price of healthcare.

 

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