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The Suburbanite
  • Akron General Health and Wellness Center opens in Green March 19.

  • The Akron General Health and Wellness Center complex in Green, which includes a full-service satellite emergency room and Reflections Breast Health Center, will host a preview party and ribbon cutting Wednesday. The public can take a tour from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and at 7 a.m. Monday, March 19, the center opens to the ...
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  • A small group of very busy nurses, technicians and construction workers have spent most of the last week putting the finishing touches on the first phase of the Akron General Health and Wellness Center complex in Green at 1940 Town Park Blvd.
    The facility, which includes a full-service satellite emergency room and Reflections Breast Health Center, will host a preview party and ribbon cutting Wednesday.  The public can take a tour from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and at 7 a.m. Monday, March 19, the center opens to the public. A  medically supervised fitness center is in the second phase of construction and will open in July.
    In all, the emergency department will have 13 rooms, including two trauma suites, a paramedic room, squad entrance, a decontamination shower, a radiology suite that includes X-ray, CT, ultrasound and MRI, a psychological observation room, a dispensary and four short-term observation rooms where patients can be kept overnight, if necessary. The staff includes three nursing shifts, aides and technicians and at least one doctor and radiologist on site at all times. When completely staffed, the medical center will employ approximately 230.
    “We wanted to make it a hospital campus without the beds,” said Stephen Abdenour, Akron General's vice president of operations.
    To make that happen, Akron General Network Analyst Matt Casp has installed 90 computers in the 99,000 square-foot building in the last five days.
    Biomedical engineering technicians Steve Scaia and Kevin Rivera have set up 17 monitors in the ER trauma rooms.  
    “We stage all the equipment,” Scaia said. “We keep it running for about a week before the doors even open.”
    Employees need rehearsals too, said Anne Cartwright,  nursing director of the health system's three satellite emergency rooms.
    “For example, we trained on monitors for a week,” Cartwright said, “then on the ventilators when they came in. It is the same with each piece of equipment. We had a doctor train the staff on what to look for in psychological emergencies and we've had separate orientations on what to do when a patient codes and how to treat work-related injuries.”
    Cartwright said the emergency room is linked to the main hospital to deal with patients who need to be transported quickly.
    “If someone has a heart attack, for instance, we have 30 minutes. We make one phone call, a blast page goes out and the team is ready downtown.”  
    Patients will be able to come and go from the Green center by air ambulance and auto emergency medical medical transport, Cartwright said.
    According to Abdenour, the doctors who will work at the Green emergency room are already working at other Akron General Medical Centers and about seven nurses have transferred from Montrose. Each nurse hired for the Green emergency room has at least two years experience.
    Page 2 of 2 - The health and wellness center is among the first occupants of the Green's new Union Square business development. Among its neighbors are the $100 million Diebold headquarters set to open in 2013 and a planned retail and high-end residential development.
    Green Mayor Dick Norton said the city started talking to Akron General about the project three years ago.
    “If we go back maybe nine years, Akron General Health System had actually acquired land in Jackson, then the idea was put on hold. As you know, Akron General has been on Boettler Road for many years, so it is not new to Green. I think it wasn’t a matter of if the system would expend in the city but how.”
    Norton said he sees the new center as a regional asset.  
    “This is a big deal,” the mayor said. “A main campus emergency room is organized chaos. Patients tend to be higher-risk patients who supersede you, their conditions are more serious and often patients use the main ER for primary care.
    “Sometimes (a main emergency room) is frightening and even dangerous,” Norton said. “The wait here will be shorter and the care will be more classy and personal. If you have a choice, I think most people in our area will choose Green.”
    The Akron General emergency room in Green will also have a nearby competitor. Rival Summa Health system is constructing a stand-alone emergency department nearby in the Heritage Crossings business park.
    Norton said they city might not need both emergency rooms today, “but I think both health systems looked into the future and thought the trend in migration is still heading to the suburbs. They wanted to get a foothold.”
    Phase II of the Green center includes a free-standing medical building and the medically supervised Lifestyles fitness center that is scheduled to open July 9.
    About 400 people have signed up for the Green Lifestyles center, which will have a competition and two therapy pools, an indoor track, 200-plus exercise machines, group exercises classes, steam, sauna and whirlpool. By comparison, the Montrose location has about 10,000 members.
    Membership at the Green location can be used at the Montrose and Stow Lifestyles.
    The first 500 members of the fitness center in Green will receive 65 percent off the regular sign-up fee. Enrollment includes a fitness assessment and exercise prescription plan. Membership information is available at a trailer office that is staffed during construction from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.