The city's newest option for emergency medical help, OhioHealth Emergency Care Reynoldsburg, will open Dec. 13 as a freestanding, fully equipped emergency room.

The new facility at 6960 E. Main St. was built on the former site of a Burger King restaurant. It will open at 7 a.m. Dec. 13 and will remain open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.

Dr. Mark Foran, OhioHealth's senior medical director of ambulatory care, said about 20 full-time employees will provide direct patient emergency care with a payroll of about $1.4 million for the first year.

"There will be approximately four full-time physicians and additional administrative support staff working in the facility," he said.

Foran said the most important thing residents need to know is that the building is "not an urgent care" but is designed for "true medical emergencies."

"Emergency departments are for severe or life-threatening conditions, like chest pain, stroke or severe bleeding," he said. "Urgent care should be used for non-life-threatening injuries or illness, such as minor cuts or flu-like symptoms."

Care in emergency departments is more expensive than urgent-care or primary care facilities, he said.

"We encourage patients to visit our emergency departments only when needed and go to urgent care or primary care for non-life-threatening, chronic and preventative care," he said.

Eric Snowden, planning and zoning administrator for Reynoldsburg, said he is excited to see the OhioHealth facility open.

"They repurposed an unused fast-food restaurant site with a new emergency medical facility," he said. "The facility will provide additional medical care options for Reynoldsburg residents who might not want to travel to a hospital emergency room.

"This project serves as a great example for additional redevelopment sites on East Main Street, both in terms of the use and in terms of architecture and site development standards," he said.

The freestanding emergency department, or FSED, will offer full-service emergency care provided by the same board-certified emergency physicians that staff OhioHealth's hospital-based emergency rooms, along with nurses who specialize in emergency care, Foran said.

The building includes eight patient rooms, including a resuscitation room; imaging with CT scan, X-ray and ultrasound capabilities; plus lab and pharmacy functions.

"We always recommend calling 911 and being transported by ambulance if a patient is having a heart attack, stroke symptoms or other life-threatening conditions," Foran said. "Our FSED's are full-service emergency departments that will receive most types of ambulance patients."

However, OhioHealth officials said the Reynoldsburg facility is not appropriate for infants younger than six months.

Foran said any time patients need emergency care, they should go to the closest emergency department, whether it is freestanding or hospital-based.

"In certain situations, such as the most severe types of heart attack or trauma, emergency medical services personnel will take patients directly to hospitals that are designated to care for the most critically ill patients with these conditions," he said. "Whether arriving by car or ambulance, after patients are evaluated, if it is determined they need urgent surgery or an inpatient stay, they will be transferred to the hospital of their choice."