University Hospitals, St. Vincent among four Ohio hospitals to get state money for projects, expanding services

4/17/2014

The Plain Dealer

By Angela Townsend, The Plain Dealer 

This article originally appeared at: http://blog.cleveland.com/health_impact/print.html?entry=/2014/04/university_hospitals_st_vincen.html 

 

The Proton Therapy Center at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and expanded geriatric psychiatry services at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center are among the projects and services that will receive a total of $2.4 billion in capital improvements approved last week by the Ohio legislature.

UH Seidman and St. Vincent each will receive $500,000.

First announced in 2011, the Proton Therapy Center will be the only one in Ohio when it opens in late 2015.

Situated in an 11,000-square-foot space - between UH Seidman and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital - where part of the old emergency department once stood, the center will offer proton therapy to patients with hard-to-reach cancer tumors.

The treatment uses a powerful beam of protons that targets and matches treatment to the shape of a tumor, adjusting the range of the beam as needed.

Because radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue is significantly decreased with proton therapy, the treatment is especially good for children and young adults.

The last time UH received capital funding was for the Seidman Cancer Center; the legislature targeted $10 million in the last two capital bills for the center, which cost $260 million and which opened in May 2011.

The Proton Therapy Center will cost $34.5 million and will be paid for with a mix of capital, bonds, internal funding from UH and private donations.

In its state capital request, UH highlighted 14 new full-time positions (including a radiation oncologist and senior physicist) that would be created; the employment of more than 350 people at the construction site; and the fact that the Proton Therapy Center would draw patients and families from Northeast Ohio and out of state.

“This $500,000 is a major catalyst,” Heidi Gartland, vice president of government relations at UH, said of the appropriation. “Every dollar that we can raise is another dollar to help us push forward.”

St. Vincent responds to demand for expanded psychiatric care

The $500,000 allocated to St. Vincent is for a planned expansion of its psychiatric services to include a separate unit dedicated to geriatric psychiatry, also known as geropsychiatry.

St. Vincent is one of only two hospitals in Ohio with a psychiatric emergency department. Three years ago, the hospital’s inpatient psychiatry unit typically had 10 patients at any given time. Today, that number is around 40, said St. Vincent CEO Dr. David Perse.

“We’re being stressed for capacity,” he said.

The result of a recently completed community health needs assessment showed a need for more psychiatric services for the elderly population – and an environment that is more conducive to treating those patients, he said.

“[Gerospychiatry] is unique care,” Perse said. “We don’t want individuals co-located with potentially violent or aggressive individuals.”

A space for the new unit has already been identified; the cost of bringing the space up to state requirements will cost around $1.5 million, said Perse, adding that he hopes the unit will be up and running by this fall.

Two other hospitals also received capital funding.

Summa Health System will receive $750,000 to renovate and upgrade simulation spaces at Summa Akron City Hospital and its Corporate Services Center in North Akron, and its Mobile Simulation Unit. Summa submitted the proposal with Northeast Ohio Medical University, its academic partner.

Dayton Children’s Hospital will receive $350,000 toward a planned $140 million expansion, which includes the construction of an eight-story Comprehensive Cancer Center Tower.


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