Mercy Health Opens $6.1M Belmont Medical Center
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The North Side of Youngstown and Belmont Avenue corridor and the residents living there are the beneficiaries of a $6.15 million investment by Mercy Health.
The Mercy Health Belmont Medical Center project will provide more space for the current family medicine residency program, as well as give patients access to other specialties conveniently located under one roof.
“This is a really unique opportunity for us because we are taking our mission-driven services and we’re bringing them all together in one location,” said Dr. John Luellen, president of Mercy Health Lorain and Youngstown. “We’re talking about our family medicine program. We’re talking about our OBGYN program, our centering pregnancy program, a Spanish-speaking clinic and an addiction medicine fellowship program, services that you don’t typically think of being convenient for people to access.”
The new clinic will be accepting those patients from the prior family medicine residency program, which had been across from the hospital, along with other Mercy Health clinics and will still have the space for new patients to come to Mercy Health.
Dr. Jim Kravec, chief clinical officer of Mercy Health Lorain and Youngstown, said when the Veterans Administration moved down the street, Mercy Health toured this facility and saw it as an opportunity.
Mercy Health purchased and renovated the former home of the Youngstown Veterans Outpatient Clinic. Due to the pandemic, renovations took longer than initially projected. Luellen notes at one point, supply chain issues left them missing 42 doors for a year.
But now the 25,000-square-foot facility has been polished up and is ready to house the five clinics, with additional space for a sixth down the road.
One of the specialties, the addiction medicine fellowship, will focus on those with substance use disorder and other addictions and will be led by Dr. John Sorboro.
“Obviously, if you live in this community and you understand the impact that those specific things have had on our community over time, you will understand the importance of us coming forward and starting a program to enhance patient care and, hopefully, recruit and retain providers who want to stay and help us with that as well,” said Dr. Ron Rhodes, chief academic officer of Mercy Health Lorain and Youngstown.
Rhodes said in more than 45 years, Mercy Health has had about 150 residents and fellows in 10 different specialties in the region.
To begin, the new facility will have 12 family medicine residents, seven attending physicians instructing them, three to four women’s physicians, an addiction specialist and a Spanish-speaking physician available to serve the community.
“With our family medicine residency, we graduate four residents per year from that program,” Rhodes said. “About 20 percent of our graduates over time have stayed in this community, so it is an important facet of our training.”
The facility will offer both OBGYN and the at-risk centering pregnancy program, which provides women with a physician and nurse-midwife, as well as the education and group support for better pregnancy outcomes.
The addition of a Spanish-speaking clinic will help provide services for those who may not be able to express their health concerns well in English.
“This is a very exciting project for us because it’s mission driven,” Luellen said. “We’re talking about the services that the community needs, that for-profit entities don’t provide, that allow us to continue to serve the community in new or unique ways.”
Historically, Luellen said access to this many specialties would create a situation where people might have to travel to various clinics to get care.
“Those individuals no longer have to take the bus and stop at five different stops over five days to get the care,” Luellen said. “They can come to one location and receive care that’s very coordinated through one electronic health record.”
Luellen sees this as part of the Belmont corridor rehabilitation, which will soon be joined by the Mercy Health Rehabilitation Hospital announced last year in Liberty Township north of this newest location. There, patients will receive physical rehabilitation for those who have suffered strokes, trauma or surgery and still need to continue rehabilitation outside of the acute hospital. The new facility will allow them to increase from the current 22 beds available for those services at the hospital to serve 60 people in a facility that will be specifically built for rehabilitation.
That facility is slated for completion in summer 2024.
The Belmont Medical Clinic is just the next chapter for the hospital system that has been here for generations and has made a commitment to expand in the region.
“We’re so proud to be here on the North Side of Youngstown with the growth of our new facility,” Kravec said. “This has been several years in the making. We’ve had our hospital on the North Side of Youngstown for over 112 years. We’ve had our family medicine residency on the North Side of Youngstown right across from the hospital for 46 years now. And so as we look to expand and renovate and grow, this was the greatest location we could have picked. It stays very close to the hospital. It takes care of the patients on the North Side of Youngstown and also it gives us a lot more room to grow and take care of patients and to grow services.”
Pictured at top: Mercy Health’s newest facility is located on a busy stretch of Belmont Avenue and easily accessible to the community.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.