Union Expands Surgery Capacity with Facility Purchase

October 3, 2005


Union Hospital today announced that is has purchased a majority interest in the Tuscarawas Ambulatory Surgery Center on Oxford Street in Dover.  In making today?s announcement, William Harding, president and CEO, says the purchase of the surgery center is an investment in additional capacity for patient care.


?Since 1997 the number of surgical outpatients at Union Hospital has increased nearly 70 percent and we expect that growth to continue.  To accommodate that growth our options were to build more operating rooms at the hospital, build a free-standing surgical facility, or acquire an existing facility.  Purchasing the Tuscarawas Ambulatory Surgery Center was found to be our best option,? Harding says.


Harding says the hospital purchased a majority interest in the surgery center from its owners, Orion Health Corp and several local physicians.  The hospital has also purchased a majority interest in Tuscarawas Open MRI which operates in a building adjoining the surgery center. 


?Acquiring Tuscarawas Open MRI complements our existing high-field MRI service at Union Hospital and offers our patients more options for local care,? Harding says.  The Open MRI will continue to operate in its present location.


In a related transaction Union Hospital has purchased the surgery center real estate from Oxford Capital Enterprises III.


Harding says Union Hospital paid $950,000 for the Tuscarawas Ambulatory Surgery Center, LLC, $2,188,238 for Tuscarawas Open MRI, LP, and $4,754,000 for real estate including the 15,000 square foot surgery center and several acres of land.  Financing for purchase of the real estate was made through a local bank while funds for purchase of the surgery center and open MRI will be taken from the hospital?s ?Opportunity Fund? cash reserves.


Harding explained that the surgery center and open MRI will remain private companies, operated by Union Hospital, with local physicians as minority owner partners.  While Union Hospital will hold a majority interest in the surgery center, Harding says nine local physicians retain shares of ownership and more local physicians are expected to become investors.


While Orion Health Corp will continue to manage and supervise the operation of the surgery center, Harding says its philosophy of patient care will come directly from Union Hospital.


?Both the surgery center and open MRI will operate under the same guidelines and with the same mission as Union Hospital,? Harding says.  ?All patients will be served regardless of their ability to pay and free care will be provided to those who meet the eligibility guidelines.?


Harding says staffing at both the surgery center and in the Department of Surgery at Union Hospital will remain the same.  Staff at the surgery center and open MRI will not become Union Hospital employees but will remain employees of the Tuscarawas Ambulatory Surgery Center, LLC and Tuscarawas Open MRI, LP.


Harding says the benefits of the surgery center purchase will start to be realized in the near future. 


?Acquiring three additional operating rooms will provide for the continued growth in our number of outpatient surgical cases,? Harding says.  ?We?ll be able to reduce duplication of services, care for patients in the facility best suited for the service they?re receiving, and better serve the growing numbers of patients we?ll see in the future.  This is consistent with our mission of being a local provider of high quality healthcare so residents do not have to leave the area for the care they need.?






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