MANSFIELD -- University Hospitals is expanding into Richland County with a new outpatient facility in Madison Township.
The UH Samaritan Richland Health Center, located at 1033 Ashland Road, will open its doors Feb. 17.
Construction of the $17 million, 30,000 square foot ambulatory care center began in March 2019. The first floor of the expansive facility has an urgent care unit, general and outpatient radiology services, a physical therapy room and laboratory services.
The second floor will house primary and specialty care physicians, with specialties including orthopedics, obstetrics, cardiology, oncology and urology.
The center will also offer telehealth services. Telehealth visits occur in regular exam rooms, where patients can meet with highly specialized practitioners through a live video conference.
Todd Harford, president of UH Samaritan Medical Center, said the Richland Health Center will be "very interconnected" with the Ashland facility. UH Samaritan is in the process of hiring practitioners for the center, some new and some transferring from its Ashland facility. Patients in need of emergency care can be transferred from the Ashland Road location.
According to Harford, the UH Samaritan network identified Madison Township as an underserved area in Richland County, especially in terms of low cost care.
“We do a lot of market research, we do a community health benefit assessment that we work with leaders in the community to understand the community and what their health care needs are,” Harford said.
Richland County Commissioner Darrell Banks agreed.
"I think that end of town needed these kind of services," Banks said. "We're very happy that University Hospitals invested $17 million in our community. It's going to add some jobs and it's going to add services that are need.
"If (Madison Township) were a city, I believe they'd be the second largest city in Richland County, so it's a lot of people out there."
Harford noted having an urgent care rather than an emergency room will result in lower costs for patients.
"There's a need in this community for an urgent care to reduce the cost of care," he added. "We could have easily put an emergency department (in Madison Township), but we didn't feel that at this time the that community needs that.
"When you go to an emergency department you get a very large bill."
Harford anticipates that the health center will bring between 40 and 45 new jobs to the community.
The urgent care unit will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will be led by Patrick Vidrine, physician assistant, who has worked for several years at Samaritan Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Ashland.
The center will also feature a community room, where free health education seminars and a variety of screenings will be offered in the near future. The content of the seminars will be similar to those offered at the UH Samaritan Medical Center in Ashland, with topics ranging from heart health and diabetes to sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques.
“We feel that we provide good, high quality care at a reasonable price,” Harford said. “We hope everyone stays healthy in 2020, but if you need healthcare services, come see us in our newest health center.”