MASSILLON — A major hurdle in the city’s agreement with Aultman Health Foundation has been cleared.

City Council voted 8-1 Monday night to authorize the final deal, or definitive agreement, with Aultman. Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry signed the city’s documentation pertaining to the pact following council’s passage.

“This is a first step to getting emergency services back to our city, and I’m excited for that step,” the mayor said. “I’m proud of council and proud of [my] administration for getting this done. We all know how important it is for our community.”

Autlman’s portion of the final agreement is expected to be signed soon, according to Kevin Pete, chief strategist for the Aultman Health Foundation, who said once completed the first monetary installment of the deal — $515,000 of $2.06 million — will be transferred to the city.

“Our team is working diligently to get everything ready and to get going later this year [at Aultman West],” Pete said after council’s vote.

Per the deal, Aultman has agreed to replace a slate of medical services formerly offered by Affinity Medical Center, and has plans to make up to an $8 million capital investment and hire additional employees at the Aultman West site on Wales Road NE.

The company is to expand services to include a 10-bed emergency room with associated chest-pain and stroke center, observation unit, clinical support services and medical transportation by the second half of this year. A renaming of Aultman West to Aultman Massillon is scheduled for this spring.

Aultman is to pay the city $515,000 upon the closing of the agreement, in addition to sums on the three-, six- and nine-month anniversaries of the closing date, totaling $2.06 million. That amount aims to reimburse the city for costs associated with maintaining the Affinity campus on Eighth Street NE.

In return, the city has agreed to restrict an emergency room and urgent care center to open at the Affinity campus for five years. However, those services could be opened at other locations in Massillon at anytime.

Councilman Ed Lewis said approval of the deal frees up the city to get moving on other business related to Affinity.

“It’s time now to do all the signings and closings, and then get on with turning over (or selling of) real-estate properties and other assets (such as medical equipment),” he said.

Catazaro-Perry said releasing the names of entities Massillon had spoken to regarding Affinity will come after Aultman signs its portion of the agreement, and not until the city receives its first monetary sum from the company.

Also, the city wants to finalize a lease transfer of a medical office building at 4455 Dressler Road NW in Jackson Township to Aultman prior to naming other medical companies that presented offers for Affinity, the mayor said.

Safety-Service Director Joel Smith asked council for $323,160 to continue maintaining Affinity, which includes paying utilities, building security, property maintenance and insurance, and salaries and benefits of two employees stationed at the former hospital.

Legislation related to the request will be up for first reading consideration next week.

 

Reach Steven at 330-775-1134 or at steven.grazier@indeonline.com. On Twitter: @sgrazierINDE