Just five weeks after Premier Health announced its plans to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, a competing hospital system announced Monday it plans to spend $25 million to expand nearby Grandview Medical Center.
The president of Kettering Health Network, which operates the Dayton hospital, told the Dayton Daily News Monday that the network plans to immediately start construction work to double the size of its Grandview emergency department and expand other parts of the hospital to meet the needs of new admissions.
The news follows the announcement on Jan. 17 that Premier Health, the largest health system in the Dayton area, would close Good Samaritan Hospital, one of its two hospitals in the city of Dayton. Premier plans to move jobs and services to its other locations like Miami Valley Hospital, about five and a half miles south in Dayton.
The northwest Dayton hospital will close by the end of the year and is less than three miles from Kettering Health’s Grandview.
Kettering Health President Roy Chew said the hospital network is anticipating many of the patients that used to get care at Good Sam will start to come to Grandview.
“We’ve determined that we’re going to need to double the size of Grandview’s ED (emergency department) and to expand services inside the hospital that are usually required by patients and admitted through our emergency department,” Chew said.
The initial announcement about the plan to close Good Samaritan drew sharp criticism from some residents, including whether the closure will disproportionately affect the health and economy of black residents in the Dayton area. The Good Sam closing follows years of economic setbacks in north and west Dayton, from grocery stores leaving to lost property values.
City officials were also critical with Premier over not being part of the discussion when considering whether to close Good Sam.
Dayton City Commissioner Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. said while there are still concerns about Good Sam closing, the Grandview expansion project is a positive thing.
“Anytime we look at additional options that will provide additional health care and employment opportunities is good thing,” Mims said.
Monday night, Derrick Foward, president, Dayton Unit NAACP, also had a positive reaction to the news.
“The announcement shows leadership on behalf of the citizens, especially on the west side of Dayton, who are in major need of health care,” he said.
Grandview now employs about 1,700 people but could hire 100 new employees or more to accommodate the expansion.
The emergency department will continue to operate during the expansion. The construction project will be led by Miamisburg-based Danis Building Construction Co.
Kettering Health will have a ceremony Tuesday to kick off the project and Chew said he anticipates construction workers will be working extra shifts with the goal of having the project done before Good Sam closes.
Chew said after learning that Good Sam would close, the network decided to reallocate money that was intended for other projects. He said Kettering Health will also likely be reaching out to “community partners” to help pay for the expansion project.
“We are going to see a lot of patients showing up in our ED especially so we’re having to revise all those carefully laid out plans,” he said.
He said Grandview’s board voted to vacate its board room to make way for the emergency department expansion.
Grandview, located at 405 W. Grand Ave., was founded in 1926 and became part of the Kettering Health Network in 1999. Besides Grandview, Kettering Health operates seven other hospitals in the region and has a large network of doctors. The health network is the third largest employer in the region.
Chew said Grandview’s volume has increased significantly over the past five years and that it has about 70 percent room occupancy. The hospital in 2013 completed a $40 million, 70,000-square-foot renovation and expansion project at the medical center campus that included a five-story tower for patient rooms, services, new lobby area, restaurant-style kitchen and new main entrance to the hospital.
“We feel that we have to continue to invest in the west Dayton community,” Chew said.
Premier Health declined to comment on the expansion.