VAN WERT – The groundbreaking for Van Wert Health North, a new outpatient and ambulatory facility that Van Wert County Hospital announced in May, took place Monday morning.
The 19,000-square-foot center will be located in Towne Center, directly east of Goodwill, and will allow patients access to a walk-in clinic, family medicine, physical medicine, rehabilitation, occupational health, a specialist clinic, laboratory, and imaging services all at a more affordable cost.
“There’s a couple of reasons why this going to be great for the whole area: it’s high visibility and it’s really accessible,” said President and CEO of Van Wert County Hospital Jim Pope.
The facility will be near U.S. Route 30, U.S. Route 127 and Marsh Road where it will be able to be visible by a large amount of people from any direction.
“It is owned by the hospital, but it is not a hospital-based service,” noted Pope. “That means we can bill at a lower rate to patients and we can work with patients too.”
“The cost of health care continues to rise,” continued Pope. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to create an environment where patients can come and get health care in a moderately affordable environment?’”
Pope noted that the hospital chose to make the facility a walk-in clinic rather than an urgent care to keep costs low. A walk-in clinic can treat a lot of the same things a urgent care can, while being more affordable.
One of the most major services that Van Wert Health North will offer is the region’s largest open MRI. The MRI will feature a 1.2-tesla advanced high-field magnet, which is the strongest open air scanner available. The MRI will be able to accommodate patients up to 600 pounds and will be more convenient for doctors and patients.
“If you’re claustrophobic at all, this open MRI just gets rid of all of that,” said Pope. “It just takes that fear from you.”
Pope noted that the difference in this MRI and other MRI’s in the area is quality.
“It’s like looking at abstract art versus a picture,” said Pope of the new MRI’s quality.
Surrounding area hospitals have magnets that are .6-tesla. Van Wert Health North’s MRI will show much clearer scans that will allow for doctors to see the photo with much higher visibility.
“Their magnet is abstract art, our magnet is a picture,” noted Pope. “The doctor doesn’t have to use their imagination, they can read it, they can see it, they can point it out to you.”
The facility is currently out for bid but construction is expected to begin within the next few weeks. The plan is to have the facility open by June of 2018.
The hospital hopes to continue growing with renovation plans for the Van Wert County Hospital in the future. Pope stated that the hospital has seen positive growth at the current facility noting that the percent of those who use the hospital and are likely to recommend it has grown 8 percentage points since last fall.
“This whole concept of what we’re creating for the patient is an affordable, but high-tech environment, very visible, very accessible, and very affordable,” said Pope. “We want to be the first choice for health care within the region.”
Those involved in the “first dig” during the ground breaking were Stacy Adam, Executive Director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corp, Dr. Wray, Chief Medical Officer of Van Wert County Hospital, Gary Clay, President of the Board of Trustees of Van Wert County Hospital, Jim Pope, President and CEO of Van Wert County Hospital, Dr. Hoehn, Chief of Staff of Van Wert County Hospital, Jerry Mazur, Mayor of the City of Van Wert, and Todd Wolfrum, Chairman of the Van Wert County Commissioners.