Summa Health System is implementing the following changes at two of its member hospitals -- Summa St. Thomas and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman:

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AKRON -- Summa Health System has announced a series of operational and facility changes that it says will strengthen the System today while transforming the organization for tomorrow.

Facility Changes: In order to most effectively serve its varied communities and increase its focus on the growing outpatient and primary care needs, Summa Health System is implementing the following changes at two of its member hospitals -- Summa St. Thomas and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman:

  • The Summa St. Thomas Emergency Department is initially being transitioned to a Summa Physicians Inc. primary care office. The long-term goal is to partner with AxessPointe Community Health Center and become a Federally Qualified Health Center satellite facility for the North Hill neighborhood and entire St. Thomas service area. Approval and designation from the federal government as a FQHC is required. The SPI primary care office will be directed by Dr. Elina Shakya.
  • Summa Health System remains committed to those served by the St. Thomas ED and this decision is, in fact, a response to the way that many of the St. Thomas patients use the ED as a primary care center. The fact is that primary – and preventive – care is increasing in importance in many neighborhoods across the country. The needs of the North Hill residents for expanded primary care services mirror these nationwide trends
  • As a result of these changes, the current St. Thomas Emergency Department operation will close permanently at 12 a.m. June 1. As of that Sunday, patients needing emergency or trauma care will be sent to the Level One trauma center at Summa Akron City Hospital, just two miles south.
  • Summa Wadsworth-Rittman HospitalConcurrently, Summa Health System is committed to better serving the Wadsworth community by investing in Emergency Department services at Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital. Over the next three to five months, however, the inpatient services, which now often average fewer than 20 patients a day, will be closed. This decline in inpatient business is not unique to Wadsworth. Inpatient volume is dropping at hospitals across the country as continued advances in medical procedures, technology and pharmaceuticals make outpatient procedures more and more preferable.
  • This closing of inpatient beds at Wadsworth will allow for a transition to an integrated medical campus that will include:o A free-standing Emergency Department with an observation unito Expanded primary care offices with imbedded behavioral health services X-ray, CT, ultrasound and women's imaging services Cardiology with noninvasive testing and cardiopulmonary rehab Physical, occupational and speech therapies Center for senior health Sports medicine Laboratory services
  • While the closure of inpatient beds will be difficult, this move will allow Summa to invest in services throughout the region that are being widely used by patients and their families today.
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