Mount Carmel Health System plans to renovate a closed Walgreens in Reynoldsburg into its latest freestanding emergency department.
The ER and a primary care practice should open by the end of year in the 14,000-square-foot building at 2300 Baltimore-Reynoldsburg Road, said Brett Justice, Mount Carmel’s senior vice president of strategy and system development.
“We’re constantly looking for opportunities to provide easier access and convenient ways to connect with our patients,” Justice said. “It’s a growing and thriving community we have a lot of patients in the Reynoldsburg area.”
Reynoldsburg’s Planning Commission is considering the exterior renovations at Thursday’s meeting. Andrews Architects is designing conversion of the leased facility. Elford Development is the contractor on the $10.2 million project.
The site, an outlot to a shopping center just north of I-70’s Hill Road exit, is a 20-minute drive from the Mount Carmel East emergency department in Columbus.
It’s also between two OhioHealth Corp. ERs: 2 miles from the Reynoldsburg location and 2.5 miles from its Pickerington Medical Campus.
“Our consideration first is where our patients want us to be located,” Justice said. “It could create some competitive situation, but that’s certainly a secondary thought for us.”
Mount Carmel opened a freestanding ER in Franklinton last year to replace the one inside Mount Carmel West hospital buildings, which are being demolished to make way for housing and other development. Volumes at the new facility have exceeded projections so far, Justice said.
While the system continually scouts sites and demand, no other facilities are in active development, he said.
The Reynoldsburg facility will be the 14th standalone ER in the region. Eight facilities opened from January 2017 to June 2018, with two more following in 2019, and they’ve been drawing traffic from hospital emergency departments. About one-fifth of the 1 million emergency visits in 2018 were to a standalone facility.
The Ohio Association of Health Plans has been lobbying for requirements that the facilities post notices about what kind of care they provide and which insurance plans consider them in-network to prevent surprise bills, but the proposal was removed from the state budget passed last year. Treating common conditions costs on average more than $1,700 in an Ohio ER, nine times the $180 average in urgent care, according to a report by UnitedHealth Group.
Patient satisfaction rates are high among those surveyed at Mount Carmel ERs, Justice said.
“We educate our patients on the appropriate use of emergency rooms vs, urgent care vs. their primary care physician,” he said.