RAVENNA -- University Hospitals Portage Medical Center is on the rise and East Region President M. Steven Jones took the time to address what the hospital has been doing to a number of Portage County chambers of commerce executives Feb. 24.

Jones spoke about a variety of initiatives that have been worked on. "I feel like we are on the right journey," Jones said. "We are really trying to raise the bar in the quality of care and services that we provide to this community. That's what it's really all about."

Jones said $32 million has been invested into Portage County facilities as far as capital and physician recruitment.

"Our goal is to have destination care here," Jones said. "Every time we fly a patient out or transfer a patient out, we suffer a loss. I want to keep all of our patients. If someone is having a major heart attack, we can now save their life. We've also acquired a Summa Care Cardiology Practice. We have great doctors coming on board."

Jones also said $1 million has been invested by the Portage Foundation towards improvements to the hospital's ER. It is the biggest donation that has ever been made to UH.

"We're going to be building into our lobby and we want to eliminate waiting rooms," Jones said. "The goal is to come, check you in and go. We're going to add fast track rooms so that people with low equine illnesses can be seen quicker.

"We'll be adding six rooms there and we're also going to add a pediatric wing area where kids are separated. We also want to improve our mental health and trauma rooms."

Over $10 million in funds have been invested in a new, state-of-the-art Cancer Center, located in the Ravenna building. A new Radiation Oncology Center is located in the basement and is a $4 million investment. A new infusion and oncology clinic are located on the third floor.

"One of the nice things we offer are loan screenings," Jones said. "If you've ever been a smoker or have a high risk factor for developing lung cancer, I highly recommend you get your lungs screened for $99. It can detected if you have any early stages of lung cancer.

"You want to detect cancer early in order to get good outcomes. It saves lives."

Following Jones' discussion with chamber executives and members, members held a roundtable discussion amongst themselves to talk about collaboration with one another in partnering with UH.

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