AUSTINTOWN Bids due on plans for care facility
Austintown Ambulatory's president questions the need for the new center.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- Humility of Mary Health Partners is moving ahead with plans to build a 10,912-square foot emergency and diagnostic facility on Mahoning Avenue.
Bids for work on the $1.7 million project are due this afternoon, and the facility is expected to open in November and employ 50 people, said HMHP spokeswoman Tina Creighton.
Plans submitted to the township zoning office show that the one-story facility will have five exam rooms, as well as separate rooms for critical care, ultrasound and gynecology exams, CT scans, and X-rays. Creighton added that MRI scans also will be offered at the facility.
The facility will be located just west of the Regal Cinema on Mahoning Avenue. Creighton noted that it will be open 24 hours a day.
HMHP also operates St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, a medical campus in Boardman, and St. Joseph Health Center in Warren. Creighton said the new Austintown facility will look similar to the Boardman campus, which was designed in the style of a 1950s office building.
In a written statement, Genie Aubel, HMHP's senior vice president for Boardman and post-acute services, said the new facility will allow HMHP to expand its services to a growing community.
"Humility of Mary Health Partners is focusing on our geographic access and expanding beyond the inpatient facilities we currently operate," Aubel said.
The new facility will be the third urgent care center in the township. The other two facilities, Austintown Ambulatory Healthcare Center and Forum Health's Austintown Medical Park, are both on state Route 46. Austintown Ambulatory is open 24 hours, and the medical park is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Questions the need
James M. Conti, the president and founder of Austintown Ambulatory, questioned the need for a third urgent care center in the community.
"Certainly, we can say that Austintown is not under-served," he said.
Conti added that he believes the goal of urgent care centers run by companies like Humility of Mary Health Partners is to fill beds in their hospitals, not treat and release patients.
Austintown Ambulatory was built in 1979, and it began providing X-ray and emergency services in 1986. Conti noted that before he could provide emergency services, he was required to obtain a certificate from the state declaring that the services were needed in the community.
In 1995, the state Legislature placed a moratorium on the certificate requirement in an effort to encourage competition among health care providers.
"They'll put a facility on every street corner," Conti said.
Austintown Medical Park opened in 2001. Forum Health officials could not be reached.