Summa Health plans $100 million in new buildings, including urgent care, behavioral health
Summa Health is poised to spend more than $100 million in the next several years as it expands its footprint of urgent care and outpatient facilities and prepares for a new behavioral health facility on its Akron City Hospital campus.
Beaumont Health recently canceled its proposed acquisition of Summa. But Summa President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny said the Akron-based health system is healthy enough on its own to continue to grow without looking for a new partner.
Summa had been looking for a partner for some “miracle growth,” Deveny said last week, but Summit County’s largest employer has weathered the coronavirus financial crisis better than some other health systems.
Summa’s system includes its hospitals, Akron City, Barberton and St. Thomas, SummaCare insurance, stand-alone emergency departments and outpatient and physician offices.
Summa has several projects in the works, including three new urgent care facilities, one opening in Tallmadge in September or October and NEOMED in Rootstown in planning, said Ben Sutton, chief strategy officer for Summa and president of the ambulatory (outpatient) care and clinical service lines.
A new standalone $22 million outpatient center with an urgent care, radiology, outpatient testing and physician offices will open next year in Stow.
Summa is looking to expand its urgent care offerings since it currently only has locations in Fairlawn and Green, Sutton said.
Summa considers its market to be Summit, Medina and Portage counties as well as parts of Stark and Wayne counties, Sutton said.
“As an organization, we feel like the markets are generally well served from an ED (emergency department) perspective,” said Sutton. Currently, Summa has emergency departments at its Akron City, Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals and a standalone facility in Green. Summa temporarily closed its Medina ER in early May, citing a significant drop in usage during the coronavirus pandemic. It remains closed and Sutton said no decision has been made regarding the location.
There is a “good opportunity to grow urgent care in physical locations and continue to grow telemedicine,” Sutton said.
Here’s a look at the various projects for Summa:
• Stow outpatient building: The new building will cost $22 million and be located at 3825 Fishcreek Road north of state Route 59. It will share an existing traffic light now used by the Aldi and Meijer, said Lucas Smith, Summa director of ambulatory services and property management.
The two-story, 58,000-square foot building will have an urgent care, LabCare Plus site and some imaging services such as X-ray, bone density and mammography, cardiac and pulmonary testing, primary care physicians and other specialties such as behavioral health, urology and potentially OB/GYN, neurology and cardiology, Sutton said.
“We’re trying to bring a whole suite of services to that community,” said Sutton.
It also will have a non-chemo infusion center, which would be the first outside a hospital setting for Summa, he said.
The parcels, which were purchased several years ago by Summa, are close to the Stow-Kent border.
“It’s a big market in all directions,” Sutton said. “It’s a market that we’ve served for a long time but haven’t had a physical presence in from an outpatient perspective. We are excited to get that up and running.”
The land is now being prepared and construction will take about a year with planned opening next May, he said.
The building is also designed to accommodate future potential additions, including outpatient surgeries, if needed, he said.
• Tallmadge urgent care: A new urgent care facility will be opening in the ground floor of a Summa Health building off the Tallmadge Circle this September or October. Sutton said the area already has a very strong Summa primary care physician practice at the building, Tallmadge Family Practice, as well as bone density and mammography imaging, LabCare Plus and an orthopedic and cardiology practice.
Space on the ground floor was originally planned for another tenant, but “we had an opportunity to build that out” at 60 North Ave.
The 5,000-square-foot urgent care will cost about $1 million to build.
• New behavioral health facility: Some inside demolition work began last week inside the vacant School of Nursing building at Arch and East Market streets on the City Hospital campus. Once the five-story building is demolished, it will be the site of the new 60-bed inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facility. Once complete, sometime in 2022, Summa will vacate the historic St. Thomas Hospital, where behavioral health services and other hospital services currently reside.
The new building is part of the health system’s Phase 2 on the City Hospital campus, which is a $85 million project, Sutton said. Other plans for parts of the building include connecting the old tower to the new tower and updating an underground tunnel between the old nursing school building and the main hospital, he said. There also will be work on other outpatient buildings on the campus.
Inside demolition on the nursing building will take about three to three and a half months.
Growth has been a focus for Summa for its future, Sutton said.
“For us to be successful in the future in healthcare, we have to make sure to meet the community needs and patient needs. The growth and development of these facilities is a big part of that,” he said.
Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or email@example.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.beaconjournal.com/topics/linfisher