WADSWORTH: Medina County’s first inpatient drug addiction center plans to open next year in the former physical therapy wing of Summa Health Wadsworth-Rittman Medical Center.

What that means for the future of the former full-service hospital — which is now primarily an emergency room and doctors’ offices — is unclear.

In February, Summa and the Wadsworth-Rittman Area Joint Township Hospital District reached a legal settlement opening a path for the district to find a different operator willing to bring surgical, maternity and other services back to the hospital.

But no action has been taken publicly to revive the hospital.

Plans for the inpatient rehab center, meanwhile, had been in the works about 18 months, according to a Facebook post by the Wadsworth Drug Free Community Coalition.

Under the plan, Summa has signed a five-year lease agreement with the Cleveland-based nonprofit Community Assessment and Treatment Services Inc., or CAT Services, to open a 16-bed treatment facility for men.

The treatment center is expected to open in March.

“I think this is going to provide a light at the end of a tunnel that a lot of people in Medina County have been waiting for a long time,” Nicholas Bianco said Saturday as he answered calls at Wadsworth Recovery Connection.

There are no inpatient recovery centers in Medina County, he said, often forcing people seeking such services to fly or drive out of state to find an open bed.

“In my crystal ball, I see those beds filling up fast,” Bianco said.

CAT Services — which operates a 211-bed inpatient recovery center in Cleveland — has been trying to open a facility in Medina County since at least 2015, when Medina city leaders quashed its plans to open a 15-bed recovery center in a residential area near Medina’s Public Square.

Wadsworth city leaders at a news conference Friday embraced the recovery center at the local hospital, which is also in a residential area.

Initially, the recovery center will only treat men on Medicaid, but CAT Services hopes to expand to helping women and children, too, along with those with private health insurance, according to an article in the Medina County Gazette.

“One step at a time,” John Scalish, chief operating officer of CAT Services told the newspaper. “We’re well-versed in treating women in the epidemic, but it’s a big endeavor to come into the area and we wanted to start with men, where we find are the majority of those wrestling with opiate use disorder.”

About 13 full-time staff members will work at the center, and patients will be required to stay at the facility for a minimum of 45 days, the newspaper reported.

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com.