The neighborhoods surrounding Good Samaritan Hospital are being canvassed to survey residents on their health needs and to help people get connected to existing health resources following the closure of the longtime Dayton hospital.
About 100 medical students with Wright State are volunteering with Five Rivers Health Centers in the effort to provide residents options for their health needs.
The Premier Health-operated hospital at the corner of Salem Avenue and Philadelphia Drive, which had employed 1,600, closed July 23. The hospital’s campus will be torn down with the exception of a parking garage and Five Rivers Health Centers, which is a separate nonprofit health center on site.
A civil rights complaint by a group of black clergy prompted the federal government to investigate whether the closure violates the civil rights of women and black residents served by the hospital.
While the clergy want the hospital to remain open, they state in a list of demands that if the hospital closes, Premier should do more to mitigate the impact like continuing to operate certain critical health services and giving more than the $10 million Premier has so far pledged toward the site’s redevelopment.
Craig Self, Premier chief strategy officer, has told the Dayton Daily News that Premier had worked with an engineering firm and planning consultants to do an analysis on adaptive reuse of hospital sites and of hospitals.
But parts of the hospital are no longer compliant with current health care regulations, with some facility features grandfathered in. The hospital also was built with some dated design features like seven foot gaps in between floors, which were intended to make the building modular but also leave it inefficient.
And while there are separate buildings, including some newer facilities, the campus is “puzzle pieced together” with central power plant and utilities that runs through the campus, so it would be difficult to separate and leave some standing, according to Self.
“It would really be cost prohibitive for any adaptive reuse, either from an ambulatory use on the health care side or from whether you wanted to use commercial or retail,” Self said earlier.
Five Rivers, a nonprofit network of health centers, has its headquarters and family health center at the hospital campus. In the wake of the closure, the center has been exploring ways to expand and to help neighbors connect with existing services they might not know about.
The health center added office hours two Saturdays a month and launched a pregnancy support group CenteringPregnancy at its Philadelphia Drive office.
The center is also working medical students with the goal of making contact with as many residents in the 45406 zip code as possible, either by phone, email or personal interaction.
“Many of the neighbors we’ve heard from lack the basic health care resources they need to stay healthy,” said Gina McFarlane-El, executive director of Five Rivers Health Centers. “We want to make a difference for these folks.”
The students will ask residents questions to determine their health care needs. If they don’t have a primary care physician, the students can help connect them with providers. Medical students can also identify what activities and resources might help them.
The community health fair will be the first chance for Wright State medical students to actually meet and talk with neighbors who may need health coaching.
“We hope the students will learn about community health needs and how to get resources to those neighbors in need,” said McFarlane-El. “We expect a huge turnout. We know that residents come out for the free health screenings, fun activities, raffle prizes and education.”
Five Rivers is a federally qualified health center, which serves patients on a sliding fee scale and is governed by a patient-majority board. It also is a teaching site for Wright State resident physicians.
The health center’s network of Dayton-area locations served more than 25,000 patients in 2017 and logged 84,307 patient visits.
Five Rivers has primary care services such as dental, OB-GYN, behavioral health, sickle cell care, respite care, a medical and legal partnership, psychiatry and pharmacy. It also has specialty care like gastroenterology, neurology, orthopedic and hand surgery, general surgery and infections disease treatment.