Ohio State cuts the ribbon on Outpatient Care New Albany
On the surface, it was your traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony: balloons swaying in the wind and dignitaries lined up with gold-handled scissors, ready to snip a strip of fabric and cheer the opening of some new and remarkable place.
But Thursday’s ceremony at the entrance of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care New Albany was something more. It was a celebration marked by gratitude and reflection, the kickoff of a visionary project that will change the quality and delivery of health care in northeast Columbus. It was also a jubilant gathering after long months of no gathering at all.
“I am incredibly excited to be here today, in part because it’s one of the first opportunities in a very, very long time that we have been able to gather together in person to celebrate,” said Hal Paz, MD, executive vice president and chancellor for Health Affairs at The Ohio State University and chief executive officer of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
Community and university leaders joined employees of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in celebrating the much-awaited opening of Outpatient Care New Albany, which officially begins welcoming patients on Monday, Aug. 2. The crowd of more than 230 — including New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding, Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy and state Rep. Mary Lightbody, whose central Ohio district includes parts of Westerville, Gahanna and New Albany — listened as Paz and others reflected on progress made during the pandemic and the promising future ahead.
“During the uncertainty and disruption of the last year, it’s been difficult to see: What really can we do? What should we be doing?” The Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson said. “And yet during that time, what’s been remarkable is that this facility got finished. And we’re here to celebrate the ribbon-cutting. It’s really amazing.”
Bringing care closer to home
Located at state Route 161 and Hamilton Road in northeast Columbus, Outpatient Care New Albany is the first of three outpatient care centers to open as part of the medical center’s strategic expansion of outpatient services. The $137.9 million, 251,000-square-foot building houses 22 different specialties and offers more than 100 services, making it a one-stop shop for most health care needs — strategically and conveniently located in a growing area where patients traditionally faced long drive times and multiple stops for their routine and specialty care.
It’s a solution many in the community — which includes Gahanna, Westerville, New Albany, Newark, Granville and Columbus — quickly embraced: With the official opening of the center still days away, patients had already scheduled more than 17,300 appointments at Outpatient Care New Albany.
“This is about high-quality, highly specialized care for more people who need it the most,” Paz told the crowd Thursday. “These new outpatient care centers are not just for the sake of growth. They are here because we serve the communities of Ohio — and we believe by the presence of this facility here, we can take all the great things that we do in Columbus on the campus of the Wexner Medical Center and bring it to this community.”
“We are responding to our community’s evolving expectations for health care and health and well-being by exceeding their expectations wherever possible. This is what we mean when we say meeting people where they are, when they need us.”
–Hal Paz, MD, Chancellor and CEO
“This building is exceptionally well built. It’s a statement, and it’s going to be an incredible anchor for decades to come in this part of central Ohio.”
–Robert Schottenstein, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Board Member
A comprehensive health care center unlike any other
Patients of Outpatient Care New Albany will find Ohio State’s nationally ranked care just minutes from their homes and workplaces. The facility, when fully opened, will handle everything from primary care to advanced immediate care, from diagnostic and cancer screenings to outpatient surgery. Imaging and lab services are also available at the facility, as is a retail pharmacy.
“These suburban outpatient care centers bring nearly every health care service to central Ohioans’ backyards,” Paz said. “From preventive care to complex procedures, patients will be able to access every step of their care journey in the same building in their own community, partnering with health care providers who are tightly concentrated and connected to one another and communicating as a team about the individual patient’s needs.”
To design such a comprehensive and wide-ranging — yet personalized — facility, Ohio State drew from lessons learned in the building of other outpatient centers, said Dan Like, chief administrative officer of Ambulatory Services at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Outpatient Care New Albany has a single entrance staffed with helpers to ease patient confusion and fears. It includes four operating rooms, more than 50 procedure rooms and over 200 patient exam rooms, and its main corridors as well as treatment and work spaces are bathed in an abundance of natural light.
“The fact is, we’ve never planned, designed and opened a facility quite like Outpatient Care New Albany,” Like said.
“This facility is unique in many ways, and is the outcome of years of strategic planning and thousands of people teaming together to make this day a reality.”–Dan Like, chief administrative officer of Ambulatory Services
High-quality, convenient care in one place
But the building alone isn’t what makes Outpatient Care New Albany stand out, said L. Arick Forrest, MD, president of Ohio State University Physicians and medical director of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Ambulatory Services.
It’s what happens beyond the doors, he said, where more than 350 faculty and staff work together to provide a wide range of personalized, connected care in a single location. And it’s what patients will experience when they see how convenient and accessible high-quality health care truly can be.
“We’ve chosen purposely to deliver care in a different way than it’s ever been delivered in central Ohio and, quite frankly, across the country,” Forrest said. “And that’s what we’re really focusing on here. The patient experience is the heart of everything that we do, and that’s where it all starts.”
“This is not just a new building — this is a new way of delivering care that will shape the future of health care going forward.” -L. Arick Forrest, MD