June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Outpatient only: No more beds at Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital

Summa Health System is shutting down its inpatient services at Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital by the end of summer, meaning the hospital no longer will admit patients for overnight stays.

All 52 beds, including the eight-bed intensive care unit, will close within three or four months, a Summa spokesman said Tuesday.

Spokesman Michael Bernstein said the hospital only is admitting about 20 patients a day, making it economically difficult to keep the beds open.

Bernstein said he didn’t know how many of the approximately 150 staff members in the inpatient department of the hospital would lose their jobs.

“That number has not been determined yet,” he said.

The posts of president, chief operating officer and vice president finance/CFO for Wadsworth-Rittman and Summa’s Barberton hospital already have been eliminated.

Bernstein said the decline in the number of hospital patients was a sign of improving medical care.

“I think the entire health care industry is seeing that trend,” he said. “There’s a greater emphasis on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital as much as possible.”

An April 6 news release announcing changes at several Summa hospitals stated the nationwide drop in hospital admissions is due to advances in medical procedures, technology and pharmaceuticals, making outpatient procedures more preferable.

“The way care is being delivered has changed and hospitals that change with it will survive and thrive,” Bernstein said. “As a forward-thinking organization, we are making the changes now from a position of strength.”

Bernstein said the hospital will focus on keeping the services residents are using the most.

The hospital will maintain a free-standing emergency department with an observation unit; expanded primary care offices; behavioral health services; X-ray, CT, ultrasound and women’s imaging services; cardiology with noninvasive testing and cardiopulmonary rehab; physical, occupational and speech therapies; a center for senior health; sports medicine; laboratory services; same-day surgery; and endoscopy.

Patients requiring hospitalization will be sent to Summa’s Barberton campus or to Akron.

“The most import thing is that we remain committed to that community and the communities served by that campus, and continue to provide the services they need and that they are using currently,” he said.

Other Summa changes include the closure of the St. Thomas Emergency Department in Akron on Sunday. Patients needing emergency or trauma care will be sent to the level one trauma center at Summa Akron City Hospital two miles south.

Bernstein said the company has not decided what to do with the empty space.

“We will do a review to see if there’s an opportunity to fill it with something else, but no decisions have been made,” he said.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.