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Akron General ends joint venture with Signet

By Cheryl Powell
Beacon Journal medical writer

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Akron General Health System has pulled out of its joint venture with Signet Enterprises to develop health and wellness centers nationwide.

The health system launched Integrated Wellness Partners with the Akron-based developer in 2011 to help hospitals, cities and other customers create their own versions of Akron General’s Health & Wellness centers.

But Akron General ended the partnership earlier this year “due to a difference in mission and values as it pertains to business direction,” health system spokesman Jim Armstrong said on Tuesday.

In a prepared statement, Signet indicated the decision to terminate the joint venture was Akron General’s.

“Integrated Wellness Partners will continue its goal of expanding the outreach of medical fitness on a global basis,” the firm said in an email.

Both partners are moving forward with separate plans to continue in the health and wellness business.

Signet’s Integrated Wellness Partners is continuing to develop medical fitness centers under the brand name Sequoia Wellness, including a facility scheduled to open in August on the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) campus in Rootstown Township.

Signet recently hired Mike Stoops, a former athletic trainer for the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets, to serve as general manager of the Sequoia Wellness Center at NEOMED.

The firm also named Jim Ellis executive vice president and managing director of Integrated Wellness Partners.

Akron General, under the trade name Health and Wellness Innovations, “is currently engaged in meaningful consultative discussions specific to its model with multiple major organizations across the country,” Armstrong said.

The health system operates three Health & Wellness centers in Bath Township, Green and Stow.

“Akron General believes in the health and wellness mission and model that we developed two decades ago,” Armstrong said. “Akron General’s pioneering experience in the unique delivery model is nationally recognized and highly sought after.”

Akron General leaders previously said the for-profit venture with Signet gave the health system the potential to capitalize on a niche it has developed in designing and operating outpatient centers and medically supervised fitness programs.

Through the venture, Signet was responsible for helping clients with construction oversight, financing and legal issues, while Akron General provided planning and consultation.

In a separate move, Akron General is continuing to search for a larger partner as it contends with industry changes and growing competition in the region.

Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/CherylPowellABJ.


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