Mercy Perrysburg Hospital President Visits Chamber To Discuss Local Health Care

The Maumee Chamber of Commerce welcomed several new members during the luncheon. They are (from left) Todd Frendt of EOS Worldwide, Jeannie Medlin of Gulfstream Development, Paul Redrup of The Mustard Seed Foundation, and Kirk Edwards and Lexi Giesige of Rivers Edge Racing. MIRROR PHOTOS BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — During the March 12 Maumee Chamber of Commerce luncheon, chamber members were updated on the state of medical care in Maumee by Mercy Health Perrysburg Hospital president Alison Avendt.

Avendt addressed the crowd, explaining what is happening at the Mercy Health properties on Monclova Road, the former McLaren St. Luke’s campus.

Alison Avendt, president of Mercy Health Perrysburg Hospital, addresses Maumee Chamber of Commerce members during the March luncheon.

 

“We really are being intentional and taking the time to make sure we are doing the right thing,” Avendt said. “(CEO of the Mercy Toledo market) Bob Baxter did a number of listening sessions last year to hear what is the community interested in, what does the community need. We’re talking to the new mayor, working with the city manager, really trying to do our diligence on what to do with that campus.”

Answering the crowd, she explained there are no concrete plans for the former hospital building, as the building would need significant repairs if it were to house another business or organization, but all ideas are being explored.

“There is $14 million in capital needed right now in that building just for HVAC, boilers, chillers, elevators, not to mention just ongoing, so that scares a lot of people off,” Avendt said.

The entire campus is 65 acres, and any changes could significantly impact the community, which is why the Mercy Health organization is being careful considering its options.

The decision to close the hospital was a big one, and Avendt said she understood the complicated feelings behind it. She had previously served as the chief operating officer at McLaren St. Luke’s before the closure.

“The next day after the board vote, we had meetings with our employees from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to deliver the news that we were closing the hospital. Definitely not something I ever wanted to do in my career,” Avendt recounted. “Mercy had agreed to buy the assets of the hospital. Not the business, but the assets, and at 6:00 in the morning, Bob Baxter … was there with us and stood there with us and every employee group.”

Baxter, she said, assured each employee they would have a home with the Mercy Health system should they choose.

The decision to close was still hard, Avendt noted, which has been something the community has attempted to work through for nearly a year, but changes have been made on the campus to allow for the property to continue to be used and serve the community.

Several buildings on the property aside from the hospital are fully staffed offices for various departments.

“On the campus, we have medical office buildings that are filled with tenants or Mercy providers and we’ll maintain those,” Avendt said. “We have outpatient therapies still at the hospital and an outpatient entrance and phase three cardiac rehab.”

Avendt also informed the crowd about the rest of the Mercy Health and Bon Secours system during her talk.

“Mercy Health has been based in Toledo for almost 200 years and joined with Bon Secours several years ago,” Avendt explained.

The system has been serving the Northwest Ohio region for many years.

In addition to the hospitals within the Toledo region – St. Charles, St. Vincent, St. Anne and Perrysburg Hospital – the Mercy Health family includes hospitals in Tiffin, Defiance and Williard along with the Mercy College of Ohio and Life Flight.

Many people who were previously served by McLaren St. Luke’s hospital have been directed to the Perrysburg Hospital, which has raised some questions from residents.

“We started as a freestanding emergency department. The cancer center was added sometime after that. About five years ago, the hospital was built,” Avendt said about the Perrysburg facility while clarifying that it is a fully functioning hospital.

There are 46 inpatient beds within the hospital, which may need to expand some to meet the growing need associated with serving more residents.

“We have an emergency department that prior to St. Luke’s closure was doing about 10,000 visits a year. We’re doing about 24,000 visits a year in that same space,” Avendt said.

She said the hospital has been listening to feedback regarding the emergency department and inpatient hospital, taking patient concerns seriously.

“We are aware of the wait and we are working on that,” Avendt acknowledged. “It is not often that a hospital closes in a market and your volume goes up so quickly. I’m sure the freestanding E.D. here in Maumee feels the same way. Everyone is working to pick up that community need. We’ll be doing some expansion to add to our emergency department, to our inpatient side.”

Avendt also outlined the offerings available at Perrysburg Hospital, including Gamma Knife radiosurgery, linear accelerator radiation and PET scans at the cancer center.

“The team that we have is really exceptional, too,” Avendt said.

“About 400 employees from St. Luke’s came into the Mercy system. A large majority of those came to Perrysburg because it was a very easy transition for them, close to home,” she added.

Some feedback Avendt said she has heard is that patients are confused when they go to Perrysburg and are later sent to places like St. Vincent in downtown Toledo.

“The beauty of having a relationship, being a system and having a level 3 hospital in Lucas County, is that we don’t have to leave the area. If we can keep you close to home at Perrysburg, we’re going to do that. If you need a higher level of care, then we’re going to send you to St. Vincent and we’re grateful to have them,” she explained.

Additionally, as part of a partnership, the system works with Nationwide Children’s hospital in the St. Vincent building.

“We did a partnership with Nationwide Children’s. Nationwide Children’s used to be Columbus Children’s. They’re one of the top children’s hospitals in the world and they have taken over Mercy Children’s Hospital downtown and brought in some great specialists for pediatric care as well,” Avendt said.

These connections, she explained, allow for the Mercy Health system to provide needed care for the Northwest Ohio community.

There are plans, though, to continue expanding available outpatient services throughout Maumee, she said.

“We do have great services close to home here. Imaging, outpatient therapy, lab; we have a surgery center that does pain treatments and we’re looking at expanding and putting some G.I. services there,” Avendt said. “Nationwide is also going to be expanding into that area, so bringing some more pediatric services into the Maumee territory.”

Additionally, Avendt said Mercy Health is looking to connect with Maumee City Schools to start an apprenticeship at Perrysburg Hospital in the future, which will also allow more opportunities for the community.

Also during the luncheon, the chamber welcomed several new members, including Kirk Edwards and Lexi Giesige of Rivers Edge Racing, Todd Frendt of EOS Worldwide, Jeannie Medlin of Gulfstream Development and Paul Redrup at The Mustard Seed Foundation.

Check Also

Maumee Middle School Hosts 23 Local Vendors During Health Fair

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and at Maumee Middle School, …