Hospital's new center lands in Clintonville

Children's Close to Home Center now operating out of Speech and Hearing Center's headquarters

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Occupational therapist Brooke Oldaker works with Cameron Schweitzer on Friday, June 27, in the newest Nationwide Children's Hospital Close to Home Center, located in the Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, 510 E. North Broadway.

At the same time Columbus Speech and Hearing Center officials had decided they could no longer afford to offer an occupational therapy program, Nationwide Children's Hospital executives were seeking a Clintonville location for occupational and physical therapy.

The result is that the hospital's newest Close to Home Center opened last month inside the speech and hearing center's headquarters, 510 E. North Broadway.

"Children's has experienced a high demand in our suburban locations overall," Libbey Hoang, director of planning and business development, said last week. "It was (a) perfect central location for Clintonville."

The move helps the nonprofit center's bottom line by jettisoning a program for which Medicaid funds recently had been cut, but also through the lease arrangement with the hospital, said Dawn Gleason, the center's president and CEO.

"We just felt like it wasn't our core mission and we couldn't afford to be doing it, but we knew our clients really benefit from it," Gleason said. "It's kind of a win-win. Our clients will still have access to the service, which is great, and we'll get some rental income."

The Clintonville Close to Home Center offers specialized pediatric services from medical professionals dedicated solely to their provision, according to the announcement from the hospital.

The model is designed to deliver care in partnership with a patient's primary-care physician, the announcement said.

The addition of the Clintonville center brings to 17 the number of such facilities providing community-based testing, treatment and care for newborns through adolescents.

In the case of the Clintonville Close to Home, Director of Clinical Therapies James P. Marrie said the services will be for children with delays in development due to injuries, disease or birth defects, and these services are extended from birth to 21 years of age, depending on the situation.

"It is by appointment only and it would be through physician referral," Marrie said.

The new center will have three occupational therapists and one physical therapist, he said.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Children's Hospital officials expect the center will receive more than 4,000 visits a year, Hoang said.