A first-of-its-kind emergency center is coming to Canal Winchester along the U.S. Route 33 and Hill-Diley Road corridor.
On Dec. 18, Mount Carmel and Fairfield Medical Center announced plans to break ground on a new emergency campus near the U.S. 33/Hill/Diley interchange featuring an imaging center with MRI, CT scan, x-ray, and ultrasound capabilities; clinical laboratory; pharmacy, and medical office building.
The 24-hour center will feature access to ground and air transport and staffed by emergency medicine physicians, emergency-trained nurses, ER technicians, and support associates. It is expected to treat 10,000 patients in the first year and nearly 16,000 by its fifth year of operation.
Construction is expected to start in spring on the $35 million, 70,000-square-foot complex-which is a joint partnership between the Fairfield County center and Mount Carmel-and completed in fall 2009. Subsequent development phases could begin in as early as three years and may include phased development of an outpatient surgery center, additional office space, and an inpatient hospital.
"We’re excited that our collaboration with Fairfield Medical Center is moving forward to meet the need for local services in northern Fairfield County," said Claus Von Zychlin, president and chief executive officer of Mount Carmel Health System. "As the two leading health systems serving the residents of Fairfield County, Mount Carmel and Fairfield Medical Center look forward to bringing additional health care services closer to home. Plans for future development on the campus will be driven by the pace at which the patient and physician community embrace this center as their preferred home for health care services."
In May 2004, Fairfield President and CEO Mina Ubbing announced Mount Carmel had options on 55-acre and 87-acre tracts in Canal Winchester between the service areas of both medical complexes with the purchase contingent on rezoning by the village council. A feasibility study was underway to aid in fact-finding, analysis, and impact in guiding the direction of the multi-million dollar project.
Ubbing said the Canal Winchester site was selected due to significant population growth within the area and because of its central location to both Fairfield and Mount Carmel East in Reynoldsburg.
"During our feasibility study, the community said loud and clear that the greatest need is ready access to emergency services," said Ubbing. "With the increased traffic congestion, it takes precious time to get to either Fairfield Medical Center or Mount Carmel. This center will meet the need today. As the population continues to grow, additional phases of the campus will develop with the community."
Canal Winchester Mayor Jeff Miller said the village is committed to working collaboratively with both parties on the project in order to provide accessible health care for the community. Development Director Chris Strayer added having a medical center in the community will greatly improve the quality of life for residents as well as bring an economic benefit to the area through the creation of jobs and taxes.
Canal Winchester Council approved a tax increment financing (TIF) package for the area, which includes a new Meijer store and out lots, on Dec. 17.
Fairfield said the potential also exists for the Violet Township Fire Department to locate a new station in the vicinity or on the health care campus itself.
"Regardless of where a future station is ultimately located in the area, we are looking forward to the development of the emergency center," said Violet Township Fire Chief Kenn Taylor. "Its location and services will offer us and neighboring EMS providers a closer alternative to safely transport patients for emergency care and position us back in service more quickly than if we had to travel to Columbus or Lancaster."
Madison Township Fire Chief Cliff Mason said, once the new emergency center is built and the department’s EMS coordinator and medical director clears the way to transport residents, it would provide a speedier turnaround since Madison Township’s eastern service limit is just west of Diley Road.
"The bottom line is it is the patient’s choice where they want to be transported, but by having the emergency center so close, clearly we could get back in service much quicker," said Mason.