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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Expansion is slated for hospital by fall

ARCHBOLD - By fall, Archbold Hospital is to have 14 beds - double the number it opened with four years ago - that will include an intensive-care unit and allow the hospital to admit cardiology patients.

The hospital is in the midst of a $3 million project to put beds in its second floor that had been an unfinished shell space built in 2002.

The expansion, which will add four medical-surgical beds and create a four-bed intensive care unit, is expected to lead to 10 to 20 new jobs that will be filled over two years, said Phil Ennen, chief executive of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers.

Community Hospitals operates hospitals in Williams County's Bryan and Montpelier as well as Archbold, and billing and other services are done together.

That's allowed Archbold Hospital, one of the smallest in the state, to be viable while admitting three to four patients a day, Mr. Ennen said.

"The expansion in Archbold meant more volume for us. But it didn't necessarily mean a higher cost for anyone," he said.

Almost all the hospital's patients are from the Archbold area.

The expansion helps fulfill the 2002 prediction of Rusty Brunicardi, then president and chief executive of Community Hospitals, who said the hospital, which was opening with about seven beds, was likely to grow to 20 beds in five to 10 years.

The hospital is in what was formerly Westfield Medical Center, a surgery center and clinic that Community Hospitals opened in 1998 at 121 Westfield Drive.

It has not offered many traditional hospital services, such as an emergency room or obstetrics, and is part of a national trend toward more specialized hospitals.

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