Mercy Health announced publicly on Wednesday it will change the use of McAuley Center in Urbana. The long-term care center has been adjoined to Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital since opening in February of 1985.
Long-term care residents of McAuley Center were advised in March that effective June 24 it will no longer offer long-term care services and they must relocate.
The decision was made to “repurpose” the facility for continued use in the community, according to a statement from Mercy Health.
“Each resident will have a designated case worker from our facility to help guide them throughout the transition process,” according to Mercy’s prepared statement. “We will be working with other compassionate long-term care providers in the area to identify openings that will allow residents to receive continued care close to home. We are confident there is enough capacity in the surrounding area to fulfill this commitment within the next 90 days.
“In addition, we will partner with each associate to ensure they are able to transition to open roles in the ministry as appropriate. If an associate is unable to find an alternative placement within our ministry, we will work closely with them to find other employment opportunities.”
The statement said it is Mercy’s “intent to find a new use for the Mercy McAuley Center, a reinvestment that will strengthen and expand the resources available on our Urbana campus. We are currently exploring ways to repurpose this facility so that it best meets the needs of our community.”
Jamie Houseman, president of Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital, explained the process by which McAuley’s future use was determined.
“In June 2021, Bon Secours Mercy Health announced the intent to transition our Ohio long-term care facilities to Aventura Health Group,” Houseman said. “However, we chose to maintain the Mercy McAuley Center and discontinue long-term care services in favor of strengthening and expanding the well-being resources available on our Urbana campus to address the needs of the communities we serve, with the ultimate goal of improved outcomes and cost-effective care.”
Houseman said the facility could potentially serve as a cancer treatment center, among other possible uses being discussed.
“Our repurposing plans will be in the healthcare space based on needs we have identified in the community from experience, types of patients transferred out of Urbana, and our CHIP (Community Health Improvement Plan) and CHNA (Community Health Needs Assessment) work within our community,” she said. “For instance, we would like to invest in medical oncology which will allow patients in our community the ability to receive cancer care (including chemotherapy treatment) locally as part of our partnership with the OSU James Cancer Network.”
Houseman said Mercy has included local leaders in the discussion about McAuley Center.
“As for involving community entities, yes – we are engaged in discussions with the CEP (Champaign Economic Partnership) director,” Houseman said.
According to Mercy’s statement, “Mercy Health has a long history of providing a variety of high-quality senior-focused programs and services across its ministry, including to those in the Urbana community, and it has been our privilege to care for thousands of patients and residents at the Mercy McAuley Center. Health care continues to be dynamic, and as that landscape continues to change and evolve, Mercy Health must make decisions that will enable our ministry to be agile and to meet the needs of our community. This decision was made after much discussion and prayerful consideration. We will work closely with our residents and their families as well as with our associates to ensure a smooth transition.”
Mercy Health is part of Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the 20 largest health systems in the United States and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country.
Brenda Burns is managing editor of the Urbana Daily Citizen