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Summa Health System Positions Itself for Future with Organization-wide Changes

Date: 05.06.2014
Contact: Phone:

Mike Bernstein  
(234) 312-5012

Jim Gosky  
(234) 312-5052

AKRON, OH May 6, 2014 – Summa Health System has announced a series of operational and facility changes that are being made to both strengthen the System today while transforming the organization for tomorrow. Specifically, the following adjustments to the Summa business model of care as described below are now in effect or will be under way shortly.
Operational Changes:
The following changes will help position Summa Health System as a more streamlined organization with key executives in place to navigate the challenges that lie ahead. 
  • Summa Health System corporate functions (e.g., System strategy, governance, legal, finance and outside relationships, including HealthSpan Partners) continue to report to Tom Strauss, President and CEO. 
  • All clinical operations of Summa Akron City, Summa St. Thomas, Summa Barberton and Summa Wadswsorth-Rittman hospitals now report to Tom Malone, M.D., Chief Operating Officer for the Care Delivery System. 
  • System-wide quality, clinical integration and growth will be overseen by Erik Steele, D.O., Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Steele is now responsible for the six key Summa institutes: Cardiovascular, Women’s Health, Cancer, Orthopedics, Seniors and Behavioral Health.
  • The positions of President, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President Finance/CFO for Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital and Summa Barberton Hospital have been eliminated.
Facility Changes:
In order to most effectively serve its varied communities and increase its focus on the growing outpatient and primary care needs, Summa Health System is implementing the following changes at two of its member hospitals, Summa St. Thomas and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman:

Summa St. Thomas Hospital

  • The Summa St. Thomas Emergency Department (ED) is initially being transitioned to a Summa Physicians Inc. primary care office. The long-term goal is to partner with AxessPointe Community Health Center and become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) satellite facility for the North Hill neighborhood and entire St. Thomas service area. Approval and designation from the federal government as a FQHC is required. The SPI primary care office will be directed by Dr. Elina Shakya.
  • Summa Health System remains committed to those served by the St. Thomas ED and this decision is, in fact, a response to the way that many of the St. Thomas patients use the ED as a primary care center. The fact is that primary – and preventive – care is increasing in importance in many neighborhoods across the country. The needs of the North Hill residents for expanded primary care services mirror these nationwide trends.
  • As a result of these changes, the current St. Thomas Emergency Department operation will close permanently at 12 a.m., June 1. As of that Sunday, patients needing emergency or trauma care will be sent to the Level One trauma center at Summa Akron City Hospital, just two miles south.

Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital

  • Concurrently, Summa Health System is committed to better serving the Wadsworth community by investing in Emergency Department services at Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital. Over the next three to five months, however, the inpatient services, which now often average fewer than 20 patients a day, will be closed. This decline in inpatient business is not unique to Wadsworth. Inpatient volume is dropping at hospitals across the country as continued advances in medical procedures, technology and pharmaceuticals make outpatient procedures more and more preferable. 
  • This closing of inpatient beds at Wadsworth will allow for a transition to an integrated medical campus that will include:
  • A free-standing Emergency Department with an observation unit
  • Expanded primary care offices with imbedded behavioral health services
  • X-ray, CT, ultrasound and women’s imaging services
  • Cardiology with noninvasive testing and cardiopulmonary rehab
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies
  • Center for senior health
  • Sports medicine
  • Laboratory services 
While the closure of inpatient beds will be difficult, this move will allow Summa to invest in services throughout the region that are being widely used by patients and their families today.

“Summa is a forward-looking organization, and we have demonstrated again and again that we can make important changes to where and how our services will be offered tomorrow, even when those changes challenge us today,” said Strauss. “By staying ahead of the curve and taking a leadership position in the industry, we will ensure that we continue to offer outstanding care for many years to come.”

About Summa Health System

Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at