Hilliard's first 24-hour, seven-day-a-week freestanding emergency department built by OhioHealth is expected to open in mid-September at the site of the former Saturn dealership at the northwest corner of Fishinger Boulevard and Ridge Mill Drive.

However, plans for Mount Carmel Health System's 40,000-square-foot hospital at the southeast corner of Britton Parkway and Davidson Road have been placed on hold, though construction of a 60,000-square-foot medical-office building is continuing as planned.

Hospital on hold

Mount Carmel unveiled plans last year for the $25.2 million hospital and $24.7 million office building.

However, Mount Carmel recently ended a partnership with Adeptus Health, a company that operates freestanding emergency rooms and would have helped build and operate the hospital. Adeptus, which is based in Texas, filed for bankruptcy protection in April.

"In recent months, (the) financial position (of Adeptus) has deteriorated and its impact on plans for our partnership makes it necessary for us to part ways," said Brett Justice, senior vice president of system strategy and system development for Mount Carmel.

Justice said Mount Carmel would "remain steadfast in (its) commitment" to provide patients with "convenient ways" to reach its services but offered no timeline concerning the hospital project.

"As we evaluate options for continuing our growth and expansion, we will share our revised strategies and plans as soon as possible," he said. "Construction of the Hilliard campus medical-office building will continue as planned."

The construction delay prompted Hilliard City Council last week to seek a new developer's agreement with Mount Carmel.

The agreement is necessary, Mayor Don Schonhardt said, because access to the medical-office building originally was part of the hospital's construction.

Now that the construction of the hospital is delayed, alternate access is required, he said.

The revised developer's agreement would require a 350-foot extension of North Clara Circle and a water line to service the medical-office building.

An ordinance approving the revised agreement is scheduled June 26 for introduction and a first reading by City Council.

A 15-year, 100 percent property-tax abatement using the Ohio Community Reinvestment Area program that City Council approved last year for the hospital and medical-office building also likely would need amended, according to David Meadows, Hilliard's economic-development director.

City leaders estimate the hospital, if it had been developed with Adeptus, would have had 70 jobs and an annual payroll of $7 million, Meadows said. The medical-office building is expected to provide 134 jobs and $5.4 million in annual payroll, he said.

The medical-office building is expected to open by the end of the year, according to Samantha Irons, a spokeswoman for Mount Carmel Health System.

OhioHealth's progress

Meanwhile, the 8,000 square-foot OhioHealth emergency department is part of a $38 million project to build the facilities in six central Ohio communities, said Katie Logan, media-relations manager for OhioHealth.

She said the other communities are New Albany, Obetz, Powell, Reynoldsburg and Worthington, but Hilliard's would be the first to open.

The facility would be able to provide emergency care for up to eight patients at once and its services would include X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, a laboratory and a pharmacy, Logan said.

She said OhioHealth officials plan to schedule a community event in August or September to explain how to access the facility and the services it will provide.

A growing trend

Dr. Mark Foran, senior medical director of ambulatory care for OhioHealth, said freestanding emergency departments are expected to increase in number.

"Freestanding emergency departments allow people to receive emergency care in a more convenient setting, closer to home or work," Foran said.

Most patients won't be transferred to a hospital but treated and released from OhioHealth's facilities, he said.

"Many people will be able to receive follow-up care with their primary-care doctor in the same community where they received their emergency care It's much more convenient for patients," Foran said. "Currently, hospital-based emergency departments both locally and nationally are busier than ever, running at or above capacity with long wait times. (Freestanding emergency departments) are an efficient and patient-centered solution to emergency department overcrowding."

Hilliard also has two urgent-care centers: Hometown Urgent Care, 5677 Scioto Darby Road, and an urgent care at the OhioHealth Hilliard Health Center, 4343 All Seasons Drive, adjacent to the Giant Eagle plaza.

Neither facility is open 24 hours. Hometown Urgent Care is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the urgent care at the OhioHealth Hilliard Health Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, according to their websites.