SOMC announces pediatric facility

Will Graves / AP Sports Writer

March 15, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Medical Center will unveil a new facility this summer to answer the need for pediatric care in the community. SOMC Pediatric Associates will be located on the entire first floor of the Fulton Building on SOMC’s main campus.

“It’s something that is going to be totally new to the area,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “It’s going to be a seven-day-a-week office with extended hours.”

Arnett said the facility is designed to create more access to pediatric care in the community.

“We already have urgent care centers, and we already have our 10-bed unit off of the E-D (Emergency Department),” Arnett said. “Children get sick fast and well fast. Sometimes they’ll get that spiked temperature, or they’ll scrape themselves, and it’s not really the emergency room visits that cost a lot of money, so we’re looking to something that has easy access. You just call, and there’s times you just get right in the same day.”

Will the new facility be admitting pediatric patients?

“Anytime the doctor thinks they should be admitted, they will be admitted. We have ten beds to put them in anytime,” Arnett said. “That’s still true as it was yesterday and last year and all that.”

In October of 2009, a controversy arose when SOMC created the 10-bed unit off the Emergency Department, drawing some complaints from some area pediatricians, among those complaints was the decision to utilize pediatric nurses in the E-D.

“There are issues you all have to understand,” Dr. Greg Hudson said at the time. “Nurses specialize. They develop expertise that is important to the care that they deliver to their patients. A nurse is a nurse is a nurse is a nurse is simply not a true statement.”

Later, the administration announced that pediatric nurses would be caring for pediatric patients and would also work with other patients if no pediatric patients were at the facility at the time.

“We will have nurses at this seven-day clinic. There will be nurses there,” Arnett said. “We have about a hundred nurses in our E-D, and they’re all trained in pediatrics as well as adults. They’re totally trained for that and required to be trained for that.”

Arnett said another important asset will be easy-access parking.

“We have a Medical Director by the name of John Radford, MD, and we are recruiting a few more pediatricians, and they are training either at (Nationwide) Children’s (Hospital), or in Akron right now, and they happen to be local people - so we are excited about that,” Arnett said.

Radford is board certified in pediatrics.

In February, SOMC announced they would be partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to bring additional resources and care to pediatric and neonatal patients. He said SOMC is pleased with the affiliation.

“I think mostly it’s their knowledge and their history of putting together policies and procedures,” Arnett said. “They have tele-medicine capabilities for us. In the future we’re going to be looking at the need and possibly have specialty clinics here to set up right there in the office we are going to set up.”

Arnett said they are already loooking at cardiology clinics to be set up for pediatricians to handle pediatric patients.

“And we see a lot of other specialties that Children’s offers in Columbus that we can have weekly or bi-weekly type clinics here in Portsmouth,” Arnett said.

Arnett said SOMC is down to four pediatricians.

“We are down to four pediatricians, and they are very very qualified pediatricians, and can do inpatients when they choose, and do work very well with Children’s Hospital,” Arnett said. “So we’re really glad about that affiliation for everybody.”

Will parents be able to contact the new facility to find a pediatrician for their children?

“It’s going to be easy. It’s 740-356-PEDS (7337),” Arnett said. “It is not an urgent care center. These doctors will have patients, so the parents will pick a doctor of their choice any time. Its just that the same day, if something happens, they’ll get a same day appointment. It is important to note that it will be on weekends. It will be seven days a week.”

Arnett said SOMC officials have talked to mothers in the community.

“They’re tickled pink…and blue too for that matter,” Arnett.

Arnett said no date has been set for completion of the facility, but expects to open this summer.

“We’re excited about it, and we think in the next decade this is going to be something really special, and it’s going to make moms breathe a whole lot easier,” Arnett said. “The Emergency Room is still going to be there. Our doctors are well trained, and if they (children) get really really sick, something really happens, that’s where they want to go, or the urgent care center. Our residency doctors do pediatric training. We send them to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. That’s where they get their rotation for pediatrics. So they are very well trained in pediatrics, and we have partnered with Nationwide Children’s for some time with that.”

He said the pediatricians will be doing inpatient as well as outpatient work.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.