UPDATE: OhioHealth announces plans to expand Pickerington Medical Campus

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
OhioHealth

Local officials hailed OhioHealth's announced plans to expand its Pickerington Medical Campus as an impending boost to local health-care options and economic development. 

OhioHealth announced Feb. 12 expansion plans for its Pickerington Medical Campus at 1010 Refugee Road later this year.

Dr. Kevin Lutz

According to OhioHealth, the expansion will be built on more than 30 acres at its OhioHealth Pickerington Medical Campus, which opened in June 2015.

Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray said the news is great for residents, who will have increased local access to health-care services and hospital beds. 

Additionally, he said, the project itself will yield significant economic development to the city and is expected to jump start other projects in the area. 

“OhioHealth has been a wonderful partner from day one, and this expansion just further illustrates the company’s commitment to our community," Gray said. "It ensures that OhioHealth will be here to provide exceptional healthcare to our residents for many years to come.

“We always knew expansion could be a possibility, and city leadership has spent a lot of time working to improve the infrastructure in that area so when this day came, we would be ready. The Refugee Road widening project was a big part of that.

“I think this will also provide a boost for the properties around the health campus, just as it did when OhioHealth first opened in 2015." 

A release from the nonprofit hospital system said the project would yield an unspecified number of new inpatient beds and healthcare services at the campus.

Katie Logan, a senior media-relations consultant for OhioHealth, said the size of the expansion, as well as the number of new in-patient beds and new services will be determined "at a later date." 

OhioHealth Central Market President Brian Jepson said the expansion is a reflection of continued growth in and around Pickerington, as well as OhioHealth's commitment to meet the needs of the area. 

"We are fortunate there are over 30 acres of undeveloped land on the current Pickerington Medical Campus site, giving us this opportunity to expand to meet the changing needs of the community, while keeping care close to home," Jepson said. "This will allow people in the community to receive a broader range of healthcare services closer to home.

"We’ve learned a lot about the health-care needs of the community over the years and know there is a need for services we could be providing. We are finalizing those details and look forward to sharing them with the community soon.

"Additionally, having a hospital right in the community is a big benefit. Currently, when people in Pickerington need to be hospitalized, they have to travel into Columbus for care. Now they’ll be able to be treated at a much more convenient location."

Kevin Lutz, DPM, president of OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and accountable executive for the Westerville and Pickerington medical campuses and Freestanding Emergency Department Network, added that plans were in place to expand the Pickerington campus from the time ground was broken for the existing facility. 

“Since our opening in 2015, we have expanded to open a Short Stay Unit, purchased the adjacent medical office building, created strong partnerships with local schools, actively participate in the (Pickerington Area) Chamber and sponsor local events," Lutz said. “As we continue to learn more about the health-care needs of the community, we recognize there are additional services we could provide and now is the time to strengthen and deepen our commitment."

In the release, OhioHealth said will work with Pickerington city officials to develop programming and design details for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2023. All current OhioHeath services will remain in operation during construction, the release said.

Theresa Byers, Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce president, said the project is another signal that Pickerington no longer should be viewed as a bedroom community but as a "growing suburb of Columbus." 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pickerington in 2019 had a median household income of $97,192, and its population grew from 18,278 in April 2010 to 22,158 in July 2019.

"Our population has continued to grow, which means that the needs of our residents will continue to grow with healthcare being at the top of the list," Byers said. "It is exciting to hear the news from OhioHealth that they will develop a full-service hospital to serve the residents of Pickerington, Violet Township and surrounding areas. 

"This will bring many job opportunities, which means now our residents could live and work within their own community. In addition, this could bring about additional business development opportunities to help diversify our tax base.”

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate