April 18, 2014

Intermittent clouds

Southwest General plans ER

BRUNSWICK — Emergency room services soon will be closer to home for residents in northern Medina County.

This fall, Southwest General Health Center plans to open a 24-hour emergency room at its Brunswick Medical Center on Center Road.

The building, next to City Hall, currently houses medical offices and an urgent-care center, and the emergency room will be housed there temporarily. An exact opening date has not yet been set.

A permanent 8,000-square-foot, $6.5 million emergency room will be constructed on the site and include an ambulance bay, Southwest General Vice President Al Matyas said.

Placing an emergency room in Brunswick makes sense because the area is a particularly important market for Southwest General, he said, but patients are forced to travel a long way to get to the hospital in Middleburg Heights.

“It just makes a lot of sense when you look at the geography,” Matyas said. “It’s a really positive move all around.”

Most patients will be able to get treatment at the Brunswick emergency room, but they can be transported to hospitals if necessary, he said.

The emergency room will create a number of “significant, high-paying medical jobs,” but Matyas said he does not have a specific number yet.

He said the Brunswick location will be Southwest General’s first free-standing emergency room. Southwest General is affiliated with University Hospitals Health System.

Faster service

With the emergency room, the city’s ambulance crews will spend less time on the road because most patients now are transported to Southwest General Health Center or Medina General Hospital, Fire Chief Jim Baird said.

Crews spend about 40 minutes of every call driving to either hospital. On average, an ambulance call lasts around an hour, he said.

“This is definitely going to be an advantage,” Baird said.

Currently, most of the city’s transports are taken to Southwest General, while between 30 and 40 percent are taken to Medina General, he said.

Baird estimates 60 to 70 percent of the department’s ambulance calls could be taken to the new emergency room. Patients needing critical care still would be transported to hospitals.

The shorter distance to the emergency room also will save patients on transportation costs, since the department bills per mile, Baird said.

City Manager Bob Zienkowski said city officials have been speaking with area hospitals about building a 24-hour emergency room for several years.

Contact Allison Wood at (330) 721-4050 or allisonwood@ohio.net.