By Steven M. Grazier
IndeOnline.com staff writer
Posted May 1, 2019 at 8:50 PM
The new Akron Children’s Hospital pediatric care center and rehab office is scheduled to open Tuesday at 1149 Lincoln Way E.
MASSILLON A $1.5 million injection into a former vacant commercial building has helped transform it into a modern medical facility geared toward children.
Workers are putting finishing touches on the new Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and Rehabilitative Services building, 1149 Lincoln Way E, which is scheduled to open Tuesday morning. The effort to upgrade the building and open a pediatric primary care center and rehab office has been many months in the making.
“We’re excited to open a new place, and get into some new things here,” said Dr. Catherine Yost, a pediatrician who will be the lead physician at the center. “This (effort) has been on the table since the middle of last year.”
Medical exam rooms total 16, while the facility has eight provider charting rooms, two physical therapy rooms for sports patients and youths with developmental disabilities, as well as a kitchen and conference room for staff members.
Laurie Weaver, a physical therapist at the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and Rehabilitative Services center in Massillon, discusses rehab options for children on Wednesday. The new center has toys, tricycles and exercise equipment to assist with the recovery of patients. (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock)
The new Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and Rehabilitative Services center is located at 1149 Lincoln Way E in Massillon. The facility is scheduled to open Tuesday morning. (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock)
Jennifer Messenger (left) a nurse practitioner, and Jenny Circosta, operations supervisor, discuss treatment protocols on Wednesday at the new Akron Children’s Hospital pediatric primary care center. The 14,000 square-foot site is scheduled to open Tuesday. (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock)
Dr. Catherine Yost, a pediatrician who will be the lead physician at the new Akron Children’s Hospital pediatric care center, said between 35 and 40 patients are likely to be treated at the facility each day. (IndeOnline.com / Kevin Whitlock)
The center will be staffed by a board-certified pediatrician — Yost — and a pediatric-trained nurse practitioner. Pediatric nurses, physical therapy manager, medical assistants, an operations manager and office administrators round out most of the staff, according to Holly Pupino, senior communications specialist for Akron Children’s Hospital.
Overall, the Massillon facility will have 15 regular, daily employees. Seven of those positions are new jobs hired specifically to open the new pediatric center, Pupino said.
Medical services will include routine checkups and immunizations for treatment of illness, injury and management of chronic diseases. Rehabilitative services will also be offered through physical, occupational and speech therapists, who will help children navigate injuries, illnesses, diseases and disabilities.
Patients will also be offered sports rehabilitation via the only pediatric-focused sports rehabilitation program in western Stark County.
Later this year, the facility hopes to add a pediatric mental health expert to work with families on depression, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder and behavioral issues, as well as positive parenting, Yost said.
Down the road, pediatric audiology services — with special training in diagnosing and treating hearing loss in children — will become available.
New Akron Children’s Hospital pediatric care center
Location: 1149 Lincoln Way E, Massillon
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; rehab service from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Who can receive treatment: Newborn children to adults, no older than 21
Appointments: Call 330-830-7900
Open house: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 13. The public is invited to take part in self-guided tours. Light refreshments will be served.
SOURCE: Akron Children’s Hospital
Busy day 1
According to Yost, the new pediatric center is expected to see between eight and 12 patients who’ve already made appointments for Tuesday. The daily average patient load, she said, should be between 35 and 40.
Akron Children’s chose to open a site in Massillon due to a need for pediatric care in western Stark County, said Yost, who expects the facility to regularly treat patients not only in Massillon, but also Navarre, Brewster, Beach City and parts of Perry Township.
“Getting people the closest access of care was a priority,” said Yost, who’s hopeful the center becomes a positive addition to the neighborhood.
“We expect a lot of people to walk here (from home) and use public transportation,” she added. “We may attract a lot of people who don’t have a primary care physician.”
Rick Altman, co-owner of Canton-based A. Altman Co., owns the building housing the new pediatric center and is the contractor for the project. Work began to remodel the building in August 2018.
The building is the former home to a Goodwill store, and has been occupied more recently by temporary, popup stores, such as Halloween costume shops.
The 14,000 square-foot medical center is occupying the east side of the building, while the western portion — 12,700 square feet — is housed by Living Water Church, 1135 Lincoln Way E. About 8,000 square feet of available space is between the church and medical center, which is large enough to accommodate a small business, Altman has said.