Ravenna – Now that the former Robinson Memorial Hospital has become fully integrated with University Hospitals, the residents of Portage County are about to experience a revolution in health care delivery. This was the message given during a standing-room-only gathering at the Ravenna hospital on June 9, marking the official welcoming of Robinson employees to UH.

On June 1, Robinson Memorial Hospital became one of nine partnering community University Hospitals, and RMH employees started working for Robinson Health System. This new UH health care delivery system aims to serve Portage County residents better by “investing in the community and taking care of people where they live instead of making them travel for care,” as UH Chief Executive Officer Tom Zenty put it.

Declaring this “a brave new world” following a period of turmoil and change here and in the entire health care industry, Zenty said it’s time to reverse a disturbing trend in local statistics which see 70 percent of Portage County residents leaving the county for their hospital care.

Stating that “money is critically important for the work we do, because it affects our ability to connect with the community we serve,” Zenty said that he has focused much of his 13-year tenure with UH on increasing the number of donors from 7,000 in 2003 to 70,000 presently.

Zenty also announced a 3 percent wage increase for Robinson employees effective July 5.

Paul Tait, Chief Strategic Officer for UH, unveiled the growth and integration strategy designed to retain local residents seeking quality health care here in Portage County. UH plans to provide enhanced and expanded services by:

1)  Building the local UH network by recruiting more primary care physicians;

2)  Bringing Seidman Cancer Center services to Robinson Hospital;

3)  Dedicating financial investment in new local health care facilities, equipment and technology over the next few years;

4) Working with more Accountable Care organizations in order to increase the volume of Accountable Care contracts being managed in Portage County.

Robinson President Stephen Colecchi reminded the crowded room that Robinson has maintained a “long and outstanding tradition dating back to 1917,” when the physician-owned White Hospital was established in downtown Ravenna. Then in 1931, the hospital expanded and relocated to the Robinson family homestead, and was renamed Robinson Memorial Hospital. In 1977, the “new RMH” opened at the Chestnut Street location after residents voted to build a new county-operated hospital.

In January 2014, the hospital was recategorized as a not-for-profit entity named Robinson Health System. This business model cleared the way for the hospital to grow in changing times, accepting the merger offered by UH on June 1, 2015. Despite all the structural changes over nearly 100 years, Colecchi said the hospital’s mission has remained constant, “a commitment to provide the highest quality care to our patients.”

The hospital’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Tom Snowberger, addressed Robinson employees, saying processes are under way “to eliminate the ambiguity with this new venture.”

In closing, he said the Robinson Health System employees uphold “our strong belief in our mission, core values and transparent communications. Also, leaders are expected to exemplify these hallmarks: Inspire, Innovate, Achieve.”

Recognized as the county’s second-largest employer, one of northeast Ohio’s 99 Best Places to Work for 12 consecutive years, and redesignated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Robinson does have a strong tradition to maintain and a relevant future to pursue.

In addition to Robinson Memorial Hospital (a 117-staffed-bed hospital), Robinson Health System also operates an urgent care facility; comprehensive imaging facilities; a network of physician practices; and outpatient centers and medical facilities throughout Portage County. The hospital’s medical staff consists of nearly 400 physicians representing more than 40 medical specialties.

UH now employs more than 26,000 Ohio residents and is the second-largest employer in northeast Ohio. The health system is an integrated network of 16 hospitals and more than 30 outpatient health centers located in 15 counties throughout northeast Ohio.

UH Case Medical Center is the health system’s academic medical center, providing primary, specialty and subspecialty medical and surgical care in Cleveland’s University Circle. It also includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, UH Seidman Cancer Center, and UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital.