The competition to serve sick and injured patients in southern Summit County is heating up this summer.
Summa Health System is opening a full-service emergency department in the Heritage Crossings development off Massillon Road in Green.
The 24-hour ER will open to patients at 7 a.m. July 9.
The $17 million facility puts Summa in head-to-head competition with rival Akron General Health System, which opened its own satellite ER about a mile away in March.
But Summa officials said they expect their emergency department to draw 14,000 patients from southern Summit and northern Stark counties within the first year, even with a competing ER nearby.
“My hope is that it gets very busy very quickly,” said Dr. Jeff Wright, medical director for Summa’s emergency department in Green.
“The expectation is there will be two successful facilities in the community and it will help the community. It’s good for the community.”
The 22,000-square-foot Summa emergency department is across the street from the Summa Health Center at Green, which the health system shares with the YMCA.
The new ER is targeting patients who live or work in Green, Uniontown, Hartville, Coventry, Springfield, the Portage Lakes, Canal Fulton, Clinton, Jackson and North Canton.
Green Mayor Dick Norton said the Summa ER and the nearby Akron General project are both welcome additions to his growing community.
A new Acme Fresh Market, offices and a retail area also will be part of the Heritage Crossings development.
“I’m happy that they’re both here because they’re great organizations,” Norton said. “It mirrors and matches what we have long wanted in that corridor.”
Enhanced medical services are attractive for businesses that are looking to expand or relocate to Green, he said.
Along with providing quicker access to care for patients, the satellite ERs allow area fire departments to get their ambulances back in service faster, he said.
“I think you just can’t underestimate the convenience and the quick turnaround time,” Norton said.
Summa’s new emergency department in Green is similar to its first satellite ER in Medina, which opened in December.
The Green ER includes 14 private exam rooms and two resuscitation rooms, which are equipped to quickly handle illnesses and injuries for children and adults, said Chris Snow, unit manager for Summa’s emergency departments in Green and Medina.
“We can take care of anything,” she said.
The Green ER will be staffed around-the-clock by the same board-certified emergency medicine physician group that works at Summa’s Akron City, St. Thomas and Western Reserve hospitals and Wooster Community Hospital.
The 52-physician practice is hiring five more doctors to handle the additional coverage, said Wright, who is president of the physician group, Summa Emergency Associates Inc.
The ER is creating 64 jobs, according to Summa.
As urban populations continue to decline, Akron and Cleveland hospitals increasingly are competing for customers by opening facilities closer to patients’ suburban homes.
Experts have said the competition can provide patients with more choices while pushing hospitals to improve quality and access. But they also warn that expanded and duplicated services can drive up the overall cost of medical care for businesses and government programs if those efforts result in patients getting more tests and procedures.
Akron General’s success
Akron General’s emergency department in Green “is going gangbusters,” averaging 40 patients a day, Akron General spokesman Jim Gosky said.
By April, the facility had cared for about 1,100 patients — well ahead of the expected 800, he said.
“We welcome competition,” Gosky said. “We certainly feel we are the leader in emergency care.”
The second portion of Akron General’s Green facility — a new LifeStyles medically supervised fitness center — is scheduled to open July 9.
So far, the fitness center has attracted about 1,200 members, Gosky said.
For people who want a sneak peek at the Summa emergency department in Green, the health system is hosting an open house from 5 to 8 tonight. Tours, free health screenings, prizes and other activities will be available.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.