University Hospitals is expanding its services in the Akron area with a new outpatient medical facility and urgent care center in Fairlawn.
The UH Fairlawn Health Center will be located in the 3800 Embassy Parkway building, which currently also houses the law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth said.
Roth announced details about the new center during his State of the City address on Monday.
University Hospitals spokeswoman Janice Guhl confirmed the new health center will take up 35,000 of 116,000 square feet of the building, with the potential for future growth.
The medical center is expected to open by the end of the summer.
UH is investing about $4.4 million on the project.
“It is a beautiful location that gives great access to the area,” Guhl said. “It will be very central to all the other primary-care physicians that we currently have in Summit County, so it makes the location very convenient.”
University Hospitals has been actively acquiring physician practices in the region in recent years. The Cleveland-based health system now has about 25 primary-care doctors in the West Akron-Montrose area.
The new outpatient facility will house those primary-care physicians, as well as radiology, laboratory and diagnostic services and a walk-in urgent care center with expanded hours, said Richard Hanson, president of UH community hospitals and ambulatory network.
About 15 to 20 specialists — starting with dermatology and gastroenterology — also eventually will see patients in the new Fairlawn location, according to UH officials.
“We’re really excited about being in that market and expanding to have those services,” Hanson said.
The Fairlawn location will be similar, though initially smaller, to an outpatient facility and urgent care center that UH operates in Twinsburg, he said.
UH and its main rival, the Cleveland Clinic, each have been attempting to aggressively expand throughout Northeast Ohio and the Akron area in recent years.
The moves follow a national trend of big city hospitals trying to increase their patient base by taking services to the suburbs.
The Cleveland Clinic had been in talks to acquire Akron General Health System in partnership with a for-profit hospital chain based in Tennessee, but the deal recently fell through. However, Akron General’s CEO has said he wouldn’t rule out talking to the Clinic as the health system continues to look for a partner.
The Clinic also owns Medina Hospital in nearby Medina.
University Hospitals has 14 hospitals throughout Northeast Ohio, including the flagship UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland. With the addition of the UH Fairlawn Health Center, the health system will have 26 health centers throughout the region.
The UH Fairlawn Health Center will be located near Akron General’s Health & Wellness Center in Bath Township, which includes a 24-hour satellite emergency department.
Summa Health System also operates a satellite ER in its Summa Health Center at Lake Medina, an outpatient facility that straddles Medina and Montville townships.
When asked whether there could be too many urgent care facilities in Fairlawn with nearby centers from Akron General and Summa health systems, Roth said: “I don’t believe so. Frankly, the competition is good.”
Roth said while the city has 7,400 residents, according to the last census, the average number of people in Fairlawn swells to 30,000 a day with shoppers and workers.
The Fairlawn building is operated by John Dellagnese & Associates. A spokeswoman for Dellagnese referred questions to the Cleveland-based University Hospitals.
Roth said the new medical center “is very good news, especially with the economy the way it’s been the last three to four years.
“Embassy Parkway is a very attractive area for businesses,” he said.