How OSU Wexner is capitalizing on 'booming' Columbus market

Columbus grew faster than any other city in the U.S. during the second half of 2023, and its population is expected to grow by about 50% to 2.2 million over the next 10 years, according to a recent Bank of America report. 

The 50% projected growth over the next 10 years would see the population of the Columbus metro area reach 2.2 million by 2034, and health systems in the region are preparing to capitalize on this rapid growth. 

"This part of the market is booming. We're building facilities, and so are our competitors," Vincent Tammaro, CFO and vice president for health sciences at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, told Becker's

OSU Wexner's biggest focus over the last couple of years has been ambulatory expansion.  

The health system recently opened a $138 million, 251,000-square-foot outpatient campus in Columbus and a $161 million, 272,00-square-foot facility campus with an ASC in Dublin, Ohio. It is also set to begin construction on a $183 million outpatient campus in Powell this month. 

"We're going beyond the traditional centralized hospital approach to improve patient-centered care, access and reduce patient costs," Dan Like, chief administrative officer of Ohio State Ambulatory Services, said in a news release.

Last year, OSU Wexner also opened a freestanding outpatient facility specializing in cancer care. The two-story facility spans 350,000 square feet and aims to provide access to top-quality cancer care to patients closer to their homes. 

"Five years from now, we’ll have five new multispecialty outpatient big boxes and one really focuses on cancer care," Mr. Tammaro said. "On top of that, we broke ground on a new 840-bed tower that is expected to open in 2026. Some of it is decanting 400 beds out of two older towers, but the other beds are all new to support the growth in the local market."

OSU Wexner has also expanded strategic partnerships, particularly within The Ohio State Health Network, which supports independent hospitals in the region by providing cost savings, learning opportunities and other resources.

The 21-member network's initiatives center around supply chain management, shared resources, telemedicine and biomedical services, and physician recruitment and placement. 

"It's not full integration and acquisition; it's more around collaboration in various areas, like telehealth services and Epic Connect deployment," Mr. Tammaro said. "These are organizations that may not be able to afford an Epic deployment, so through the Epic Connect model we're able to offer Epic at a lower cost to many of these hospitals."

"We also have a big pharmacy GPO and various supporting clinical programs," he said, "What we're seeing over the last couple of years — because of the various financial pressures — is that many providers have been coming to us to be partners in various other areas."

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