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Published: Monday, 8/19/2002

Defiance Hospital will move on Oct. 5

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DEFIANCE - Residents can expect to see a line of ambulances and moving trucks parading through this northwest Ohio city on Oct. 5, when Defiance Hospital moves to its new location.

Hospital spokeswoman Mary Beth Weisenburger said the transition - which includes transporting patients from the old hospital to the new one - will be involved. But she said officials anticipate few, if any, problems.

She said the hospital has hired a company that specializes in such moves. Ms. Weisenburger said service will not be interrupted and the hospital will maintain two emergency departments for a short period.

“Moving an existing facility to a new facility presents many interesting challenges,” she said. “But we've been working on this for months.”

The new $40 million Defiance Regional Medical Center, a member of ProMedica Health Systems, was built on the northwest side of Defiance. The current hospital is located on East Second Street near downtown.

The move will involve traveling through the city of Defiance as well as crossing the Maumee River. Ms. Weisenburger said the hospital plans to provide information about the transition to the public as the date nears.

An open house at the new facility is planned for Sept. 29, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m., followed by tours until 5 p.m. The new hospital will be operational on Oct. 5. Employees will be trained at the new site beginning next month.

The facility, which is nearly completed, will offer larger patient rooms, an expanded emergency department, and a layout that groups related services for patient and staff convenience, officials have said.

The new hospital will have outpatient services grouped together on the first floor, with inpatient beds located on the second floor. The emergency room has a separate entrance for patients.

It will employ more than 400 people, including the hospital's current medical staff, Ms. Weisenburger said. She said the doctors are associated with the hospital, Defiance Clinic, ProMedica, and independent groups.

ProMedica officials had eyed the move because its current location on city-owned property is in an older building. What will become of that land is still in question, city officials said.

City Administrator Roger Reece said leaders are continuing to negotiate with hospital officials about a 99-year lease that has allowed the hospital to use property for just $1 a year.

Mr. Reece said no decisions have been made on future uses for the land and building. But he said he expects discussion on the topic at a city council meeting Aug. 27.



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