Updated Mon, Jun 30, 2014 6:52 pm
Doctors Hospital Nelsonville will be closing, OhioHealth announced Monday, but it won't happen until a new outpatient facility is constructed.
However, the hospital will begin immediately to limit admissions, and will cease inpatient services before the end of the year.
"...With only 20 percent of people in Nelsonville coming to Doctors Hospital Nelsonville for inpatient care, and with an average inpatient census of about four patients per day, it became obvious that keeping the hospital open was not a viable option," said LaMar Wyse, chief operating officer at the hospital.
Until the new outpatient facility is opened, the hospital will continue to offer 24-hour emergency services, endoscopy services, outpatient x-ray and other outpatient services.
Wyse told The Messenger that the preference is to locate the new outpatient facility in Nelsonville, and that a couple sites have been looked at but no final selection has been made.
Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and take 18 to 24 months to complete. Because of the age and infrastructure of the existing hospital, it was decided to build a new facility.
Doctors Hospital Nelsonville has 172 employees. They were notified through a newsletter Monday of what will be happening, and followup meetings with employees started Monday and will continue Tuesday, Wyse said.
The elimination of inpatient care will result in staff reductions. At the time the hospital closes, some employees will transition into the new outpatient facility, but the exact number of employees the new facility will have is not known, Wyse said.
The new outpatient facility will not be open 24 hours per day. Exact services have not yet been determined, but a news release from OhioHealth said that typically they include urgent care, imaging, laboratory services and physician offices.
Although OhioHealth has been considering its options for Doctors Hospital Nelsonville for many months, Wyse said planning became more intense at the beginning of the year when it became clear that trends in usage of the hospital were not going to change.
Wyse said there have been instances when the hospital went days without any inpatients.
He said final decisions regarding the hospital were made within the past couple weeks.
"While it saddens us to close one door, we are happy to open another as plans will soon begin to develop a new outpatient healthcare facility to be built in Nelsonville," Wyse said in the news release. "This new heath center will better meet the needs of our community."
The hospital was originally constructed in 1950 as Mount Saint Mary Hospital and changed its name to Doctors Hospital Nelsonville in 1980.