ABIGAIL BOBROW Enlarge
The patient rooms are all private and have DVD players. The hallways are carpeted. The main lobby has a fireplace. The lounge areas look more like a hotel than a hospital.
Terri McLain said the 70-bed Bay Park Community Hospital in Oregon is so nice that “whenever I give a tour I get the question: `Can I rent out a room for the weekend?'”
She's maybe a little biased. After all, Ms. McLain is president of the $52 million hospital that will open to patients Nov. 5.
But Ms. McLain, who worked as a hospital administrator in the St. Louis area before coming to Toledo, said she's convinced patients will like the extra touches and attention to patient comfort.
For example, she said patients can order whatever meals they want provided they follow their doctor's dietetic guidelines. Needs of patients' families have been incorporated - nearly all patient rooms have waiting areas with couches and TVs.
“We want to encourage families to be as comfortable as possible,” she said.
More than three years in the planning, Bay Park is a significant financial commitment for its parent company, ProMedica Health System. Counting the 50 acres of land, equipment and other costs, ProMedica spent $84 million on the project.
Located just west of I-280 at the Curtice Road exit, the 276,000-square foot hospital is expected to draw patients from Oregon to Sandusky. Hospital officials said there's plenty of room at the site to expand, but they have no immediate plans to do so.
ProMedica's strategy is to build or buy hospitals like Bay Park that are “feeder” hospitals that will funnel patients needing advanced care to its Toledo Hospital. Bay Park is just one of a series of large construction projects ProMedica is undertaking. It's also building a hospital in Defiance. Earlier this month, it announced it would build a replacement hospital at the site of the current Toledo Hospital for more than $200 million.
Bay Park's 350 employees - a total that could eventually grow to 400 or more - will be a boost to the local economy, according to Oregon mayor James Haley.
“It's a fine addition. Any time we can offer additional health care to our people and the surrounding communities, it's well-appreciated,” he said.
Well, maybe not by everyone.
When the hospital was first announced, many in the medical community criticized ProMedica because it is located just south of St. Charles Mercy Hospital, which sits on a 24-acre site off the Navarre Avenue exit. Critics said it didn't make sense to build competing hospitals so close to each other.
St. Charles Mercy, which has about 1,900 full and part-time employees, opened in 1953 and is owned by Mercy Health Partners - ProMedica's main rival. Together, the two systems control about 80 percent of the hospital market in northwest Ohio.
Dr. Herbert Stockard, president of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County, said there is some concern among the area's physicians that having two hospitals so close to each other could dilute patient volume necessary to maintain quality specialty programs. He said he's heard the Bay Park facility is “excellent” and many of the area's physicians are eager to admit patients to the new facility.
Ms. McLain said 385 physicians have asked to admit patients at the hospital and 200 have been accepted so far. She said up to 400 physicians will eventually admit to the hospital.
Dr. Stockard said he's somewhat “fearful” for St. Charles' future, but added that St. Charles has been a part of the community for a long time and he expects Oregon and east suburban residents and physicians will continue to support the hospital.
Megan Manahan, Mercy spokeswoman, said St. Charles is financially healthy and will continue to be so. The hospital had a $12 million profit last year, up from $7 million in 1999.
“I think we're very confident in the excellence of our care and we feel we have a large base of loyal patients,” she said. “Another hospital in the market is bound to cause changes. We hope the effect is minimal.”
Some effect will be felt next July after Paramount, a health insurance company owned by ProMedica with more than 200,000 members in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, cuts off coverage for visits by its members to St. Charles. Paramount members represent about 10 percent of patients at St. Charles, Megan Manahan, a mercy spokeswoman, said.
Dr. Kewal Mahajan, chief of staff at St. Charles, said the medical staff at St. Charles isn't worried about the new hospital. Dr. Mahajan said the most important thing to him is to treat patients wherever they feel comfortable.
“Wherever my patient goes, I'll take care of them,” he said.
In fact, Dr. Mahajan said he asked, and was granted, permission to admit some of his patients to Bay Park. He said he will admit patients to both St. Charles and Bay Park.