Mercy’s New Sebring Office Improves Access in Rural Mahoning County

SEBRING, Ohio – Mercy Health-Youngstown has expanded its footprint into southwestern Mahoning County with the opening of the renovated offices of Sebring Primary Care. 

The office, at 605. E. Ohio Ave. in Sebring, offers 12 exam rooms, radiology and laboratory services for walk-in and appointment care. More specialties will be added, says Missy Russo, chief operating officer for Mercy Health Physicians Youngstown, beginning Wednesday with general surgery. The health care offerings, she says, are going to be similar to Mercy’s other primary care offices in Howland, North Lima, Columbiana and Austintown, the most recently renovated practice.

“We’ve started with this model to provide more access because our patients want this. They want to be able to go to one location to get all their service, rather than going to all these different locations,” Russo says.

But what makes the office special isn’t the service it offers, but rather where it offers them. Previously, Mercy Health-Youngstown southernmost site was Salem Primary Care. While the Sebring office is due west from there, it sits in a corner of Mahoning County that’s often overlooked.

“The closest medical office toward Salem is on Second Street. For urgent care, they have to go into Alliance. I really believe that this really captures this area to provide another health service, including walk-in care,” says John McGuire, a nurse practitioner at the Sebring office. “You don’t need any sort of appointment to get care here.”

John McGuire, a family nurse practitioner at Mercy Health’s Sebring Primary Care.

A native of nearby Beloit – the village limit sign is within sight of the Sebring Primary Care parking lot – McGuire has seen the need for primary care that’s closer to patients than was available prior to the office’s opening. Many of the patients he sees in the office are farmers or small-business owners who don’t always have time to make trips to Salem or, in an emergency, Mercy’s hospitals in Boardman or Youngstown. One of the most common times for appointments, he says, is the late afternoon, when patients have finished their work for the day.

“It’s made up, particularly in this area, of farmers and people that need to provide a lot of time to their farm, to their business, to the things they have dedicated themselves to,” McGuire says. “They need primary care that’s in their local area, that’s not a 40-minute drive to the big hospital. We’re about halfway between Alliance and Salem, so for everyone in this region, we can provide all the care they need.”

Another important factor is the breadth of services Sebring Primary Care provides, from pediatrics to end-of-life medical services. With such an offering, McGuire says, there’s no need to find a new doctor when new services are needed and with an array of lab testing, radiological services and expertise on-site, there’s no guesswork about where to go for care.

“That provides another important factor for people in this community. I can treat patients when they’re younger and work with them all the way through adulthood,” McGuire says. “They don’t have to go to a pediatrician then find a family doctor then transition into something else.”

The practice opened in January 2020 after doctors from a Damascus practice joined Mercy Health Youngstown Physicians. Their previous site wasn’t feasible within the health-care system, Russo says, and so the group started looking for another site. When Mahoning County Court No. 3 moved out of the space, Mercy moved in.

The building has been completely renovated, with the number of exam rooms in the updated space increased to 12 from the original four.

“Originally, it still looked like a courthouse. It still had the judge’s chambers and all of that. It’s changed drastically,” Russo said.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.