July 23, 2014

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Cleveland Clinic to build inpatient hospital in Avon

AVON — The Cleveland Clinic announced Tuesday that it will expand the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon into an inpatient hospital.

A Cleveland Clinic medical helicopter lands at the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

A Cleveland Clinic medical helicopter lands at the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

The clinic operates the 190,000-square-foot medical center, including an emergency room which opened in September, just off the Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road. It has more than 420 full-time employees, many of whom learned about the expansion at an event Monday night.

“Our Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon has seen success beyond our expectations and inpatient expansion will help us continue to meet the increasing needs of our patients,” Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the clinic’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

The clinic didn’t release details of how large the hospital will be, how many beds it will include or other details at this time, but the statement also said that “the design will be unlike traditional inpatient hospitals to accommodate the way care is delivered in the future.”

Eileen Sheil, the clinic’s communications director, said she could not say when ground will be broken on the expansion, although the clinic is in the process of acquiring additional property for the project.

Sheil also said the clinic has yet to decide exactly what services will be offered at the hospital once the expansion is complete. She said there won’t be a maternity wing because the clinic is trying to get away from duplicating services at nearby hospitals.

Fairview Hospital, which is part of the clinic system, offers maternity services, she said.

The current clinic facility in Avon includes an outpatient surgery center, an infusion suite for chemotherapy, a physical therapy area with two pools and a full-scale imaging center, according to documents provided by the clinic. In total there are 38 adult and 13 pediatric specialties practiced at the Jacobs facility, in addition to family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.

In the first year it was open, the press materials said, the Jacobs facility had 320,000 patient visits and performed more than 4,500 outpatient surgeries.

Sheil said clinic officials have been thinking about expanding the Jacobs facility since well before it opened in December 2011. The expansion will be designed to accommodate advances in delivering medical care rather than relying on previous hospital models, she said.

“We have to build for the future,” Sheil said.

Avon City Council is poised to approve a second helipad and a 1,344-square-foot flight crew quarters at the Jacobs facility, something Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said is scheduled to be voted on next week.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he’s thrilled by the clinic’s announcement, which he believes will continue to drive the massive surge in growth that Avon has experienced in the past decade.

“The clinic is a good catalyst,” Smith said. “The emergency room has been good for us, but this is the coup de grace.”

Inpatient hospitals typically bring with them hotels, restaurants and other businesses that can serve the nearby medical facilities, Smith said. All of those businesses, as well as the hospital, will pour income tax money into the city’s coffers.

Smith said the hospital expansion will be good not only for Avon, but all of Lorain County.

For instance, he said county government will benefit from the sales tax collected at ancillary businesses, although the county won’t be able to collect property tax on the Clinic because it’s a nonprofit organization. That tax-exempt status also means that the city isn’t offering a tax abatement deal on the expansion, Smith said.

County Commissioner Ted Kalo said he too sees the benefit for the county.

“It’s exciting,” Kalo said. “It means construction jobs, medical jobs, income taxes for the city of Avon.”

The announcement comes just two weeks after University Hospitals, the clinic’s primary rival, made public that it is in the process of taking over EMH Healthcare, which operates an emergency room and a fitness center in Avon.

EMH spokeswoman Kristen Davis said her hospital had no comment on the clinic’s announcement and Janice Guhl, director of media relations for UH, didn’t comment specifically on the expansion.

Mercy Regional Medical Center has long harbored ambitions of building a medical facility in Avon at the I-90 interchange at state Route 611, but that project has never materialized. A Mercy spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Smith said the need for expanded medical services in Avon and the neighboring communities is large enough to accommodate multiple hospital systems.

“I think that all of the hospitals are looking for different markets and moving into different communities, but that’s out of my expertise,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • Curious citizen

    What a waste of money. Fill the beds you have in Cleveland, Fairview and Lakewood! Just because you can raise the funds, doesn’t mean you should spend them. We have plenty of hospital beds in Lorain County. Watch out Avon…no one wants to be the next Lakewood Hospital.