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Health and Medicine


Summa is closing down the ER at St. Thomas and inpatient at Wadsworth
The Akron-based health system says it's part of the evolution from sick- care to wellness-care
Story by JEFF ST. CLAIR AND M.L. SCHULTZE


 
Summa is closing the inpatient unit at Wadsworth and emergency department at St. Thomas. They'll focus more on primary care and outpatient care.
Courtesy of Summa Health System
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Summa Health System announced today it’s closing the emergency department at St. Thomas Hospital in north Akron and inpatient treatment at Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital. 

St. Thomas will become primary-care physicians’ offices and, eventually, a community health center. Wadsworth is to become a medcial campus offering an emergency department, sports medicine and other outpatient services.

Summa Chief Executive Thomas Strauss says the changes are part of the evolution of healthcare.

LISTEN: Changing the healthcare model

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“It’s just an overall look at the future of healthcare delivery. If you think about where we’re going as an organization, we’re moving away from the old way of fee-for- medicine, where patients come to the hospital for treatment of sick care. And we’re moving to a new focus of … keeping people healthy and out of the hospital.” 

Wadsworth-Rittman has been averaging fewer than 20 patients a day, and Strauss says that cost  Summa more than half a million dollars in the first three months of this year.

He says the changes are dictated by improvements in healthcare and the need to control costs.

LISTEN: The effects of medical inflation
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(0:17)

“We’re seeing medical inflation this past year the lowest it’s been in 50 years because people are choosing because of high deductibles  and the downturn of the economy to forego elective care. So we’re seeing volumes decrease across all hospitals in this country.”

Strauss says  Summa hopes to partner with AxcessPoint to transform St. Thomas into a satellite community health center serving north Akron..

St. Thomas will close its ER as of midnight June 1. Wadsworth will phase out inpatient care over the next three to five months. Strauss says as many as 150 employees will be affected by the changes, but expects most of them will transfer to other Summa facilities. 

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