Sagamore Hills — Local rescue squads will have to drive more emergency patients out of town beginning Dec. 1, when South Pointe Hospital’s emergency room at the Sagamore Hills Medical Center on Route 82 is scheduled to close.
Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire Chief Frank Risko and other area officials said representatives of South Pointe, which is owned by the Cleveland Clinic, contacted them by phone Tuesday with news of the closure.
Heather Phillips, senior director of corporate communications for the Cleveland Clinic, told the News Leader Wednesday hospital officials determined the patient volume is too low and the majority of patient conditions are not severe enough to justify keeping the Sagamore Hills emergency room open. She said the site is being repurposed as an “Express Care” facility, where people will be treated for non-critical conditions.
“The emergency department itself was being under utilized and the majority of people who were coming in were coming in for medical conditions that were primary care, bumps and bruises, injuries, cuts and scrapes — more of the lower-acuity-type, minor injuries,” she said. “The Express Care is a walk-in type of clinic. It’s for people 14 years and older and it’s going to be in the same location.”
Phillips said about 30 workers are affected, 18 of which have new positions with the Cleveland Clinic system, while positions are being found for another 12 of the emergency room workers.
In a press release issued Wednesday, South Pointe Hospital president Robert Juhasz said the Express Care facility makes it possible for South Pointe to continue to care for the community.
“This new level of care will better serve residents and focus more on primary care services, which is what the community is utilizing,” Juhasz said.
Phillips said a Cleveland Clinic police officer — due to the police’s ability to communicate with emergency services — will be stationed at the facility through the end of the year to coordinate service for any emergency patients who mistakenly show up for treatment.
Phillips said area fire departments were notified yesterday that they will not be able to bring emergency patients to the facility after Dec. 1.
Risko said the fire district transports about 50 patients — or about half the department’s patient load — to the Route 82 emergency room each month.
He said the change will cost the department an unknown amount of money, as ambulance crews will have to drive farther and the district will have to adjust to having firefighters away from the district for longer periods of time.
“The manpower is going to be the main thing,” Risko said. “It’s going to take added time to take our patients to hospitals that our further away.”
He said the department has not had a chance to determine how the change would affect patient care.
“They’re in for a longer ride and that’s something that has got to be looked at very closely,” he said. “It’s going to delay the time for treatment. To what extent, we don’t know. We’re not looking at it as a favorable thing right now.”
Other area departments do not rely as heavily on the Sagamore Hills facility and take most of their patients to facilities in Bedford and Twinsburg, officials say.
Macedonia Fire Capt. Brian Ripley said the city takes its most serious cases to one of two emergency rooms in Twinsburg — the Cleveland Clinics’ Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center and University Hospitals’ Twinsburg Health Center. He said the city transports around 10 patients per month to the Sagamore Hills facility.
The majority of Northfield Village’s emergency patients are taken to the University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center, said Village Fire Chief Jason Buss.
Buss said the village takes about a dozen patients to the Sagamore facility each month — or about 20 percent of his department’s transports.
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Sagamore Hills — Local rescue squads will have to drive more emergency patients out of town beginning Dec. 1, when the emergency room at the Sagamore Hills Medical Center on Route 82 is scheduled to close, according to area officials.
Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire Chief Frank Risko said a Cleveland Clinic EMS coordinator contacted him by phone Tuesday to inform him of the closure.
“I’m still waiting for something official,” Risko said.
Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher said he was informed of the change Tuesday by Brian Monter, Chief Operating Officer at Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital.
Monter did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, and the Cleveland Clinic’s media relations office did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
Risko said the fire district transports about 50 patients — or about half the department’s patient load — to the Route 82 emergency room each month.
Other area departments do not rely as heavily on the Sagamore Hills facility and take most of their patients to facilities in Bedford and Twinsburg, officials say.
Macedonia Fire Capt. Brian Ripley said Wednesday that hospital officials contacted the city with news of the closure Tuesday.
Ripley said the city takes its most serious cases to one of two emergency rooms in Twinsburg — the Cleveland Clinics’ Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center and University Hospitals’ Twinsburg Health Center. He said the city transports around 10 patients per month to the Sagamore Hills facility.
The majority of Northfield Village’s emergency patients are taken to the University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center, said Village Fire Chief Jason Buss.
Buss, who said he also was notified of the closure by hospital officials yesterday, said the village takes about a dozen patients to the Sagamore facility each month — or about 20 percent of his department’s transports.
Check back for more on this story.