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McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford adds 3 new surgical suites

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 5:18 PM

            McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital’s second phase of its “Growing To Meet Your Needs Campaign” is now complete with the opening of three new surgical suites at the Oxford hospital. CONTRIBUTED

McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital announced today that the second phase of its “Growing To Meet Your Needs Campaign” is now complete with the opening of three new surgical suites at the Oxford hospital.

“We have brought state-of-the-art surgical facilities to Oxford,” said Brett Kirkpatrick, the hospital’s executive director. “These new rooms, along with providing a wider range of health care services for our community is making us more of a regional hospital than ever before. “Our patients now are being treated by specialized physicians in state-of-the-art environments without having to travel to Cincinnati, Indianapolis or Dayton.”

MORE: New partnerships bring more health care options to Oxford

Dr. Bryan McCullough, an orthopedic surgeon with the TriHealth Orthopedic and Sports Institute, said the new suites benefit “not only the surgeons, but all health-care workers at the hospital and most importantly, the patients and their families.”

The new suites are approximately 40 percent larger than the previous surgical rooms. That additional space allows for equipment setup during surgical procedures.

In addition, surgical staff can move equipment around more easily with less risk of contaminating the operating field, a move that hospital officials say will help continue to improve quality of care.

RELATED: New era begins at Oxford hospital

In the past two-and-a-half years since McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital became part of the TriHealth network, the hospital had added TriHealth cancer, digestive, surgical and heart institute physicians on campus.

TriHealth’s $17-million investment in Oxford has led to the expansion and improvement of clinical services and a newly renovated emergency department that opened last summer.

MORE: Oxford hospital completes first phase of ER department renovation

Investments have covered the spectrum from capital to enhanced clinical services and support of community initiatives in Oxford including:
  • $10 million dollar capital infusion into the hospital and other sites for a state-of-the-art information technology system;
  • $3.5 million to expand and improve clinical services and locations;
  • $2.5 million toward a capital campaign for new facilities; $1 million capital investment (immediate);
  • $500,000 over three years to support community initiatives.

West Liberty school shooting suspect pleads not guilty by insanity

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

The suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ely Serna, through his attorney Dennis Lieberman, filed the plea by motions this week in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Judge orders competency hearing for West Liberty shooting suspect

Serna has been accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff.

READ MORE: ‘Cole’s Pack’ greets West Liberty school shooting victim

Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Lieberman also filed a motion to dismiss the case in adult court and transfer the case back to juvenile court. A juvenile judge moved the case to adult court earlier this month.

INVESTIGATION: Is Southwest Ohio ‘overinvested’ in higher education?

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:10 AM

When James Rhodes promised a college within 20 or 30 miles of every resident during his first run for Ohio governor in 1962, he probably didn’t envision today’s environment of struggling schools.

With recent budget cuts, buyouts, and closures, one of the region’s biggest businesses —higher education— may be expediting its own demise by competing too much.

» INTERACTIVE: Map of all universities and colleges in Ohio

There are 90 nonprofit public and private colleges and 24 university branch campuses in Ohio, each of which has its own leaders and competes, to a degree, with one another.

Southwest Ohio has 22 colleges and four branch campuses, second only to Northeast Ohio which has 23 colleges and six branches. At least six Southwest Ohio’s colleges have struggled financially in the last decade, a sign that there may be too many schools for the region to sustain, experts told this newspaper.


» INITIAL REPORT: What caused area colleges to falter financially?

» THE LATEST: Thanks to alumni, Antioch College survived its own death

» EARLIER: Wright State finalizes more than $30.8 million in budget cuts

“Dayton is probably over-invested in higher education,” said Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist and director of the Center for College Affordability. “Within an hour’s drive there are a hell of a lot of schools. You’re probably a bit over-colleged.”

The demand for a college degree has softened, and Vedder estimates it will precipitate a closure of around 500 schools in the United State over the next several years. The U.S. Department of Education lists 550 schools nationwide that they have determined to be “financially troubled.”

Colleges are facing leaner fiscal times as they’ve experienced a decline in customers, heightened competition and slashes to state and federal funding.

There are almost 600,000 students taking classes at the state’s public colleges and leaders are fearful that an expected drop of 13,000 Ohio high school grads over the next 15 years could cause further declines in enrollment.

RELATED: Sinclair College increases tuition, gives employees pay raises

Wright State University may be the largest and one of the most recent colleges in Ohio to struggle financially, but it has some company. WSU overspent by around $120 million over the last six years and is heading for state fiscal watch as Central State University recently exited it.

Wilberforce University slashed $750,000 from its payroll budget in November and in 2015 Wittenberg University cut around $6.5 million to help balance its budget. Antioch College closed in 2008 amid financial problems only to later reopen while cash-strapped Urbana University was bought in 2014 by Franklin University in Columbus.

Although each school has faced different problems, they collectively depict an industry in crisis and one that cannot rely on the reputations that have carried others.

For too long, colleges have tried to be “everything to everyone” but that “has to pass,” said Doug Fecher, the soon-to-be chairman of WSU’s board. That means sharing some operations and offerings and making sure programs offered by one school don’t overlap with another, officials said.

“We’re not Harvard,” Fecher said. “So, don’t try to be Harvard.”

‘All of them are in trouble’

Harvard has something going for it though that several Ohio universities do not. The Ivy League school has the weight of history on its side.

The length of time a college has been around can be a powerful asset, Vedder said. Colleges that have existed for a century or more are not struggling as much as recently established ones.

RELATED: Wright State hits its ‘low point’ with announcement of layoffs

Ohio State University, Miami University and the University of Dayton were all founded in the 1800s while Wright State and Cleveland State University were founded around 100 years later in the 1960s following Rhodes’ proclamation.

“These are the schools of the 60s,” Vedder said. “All of them are in trouble. None of them are vibrant blooming schools at the moment.”

Both WSU and Cleveland State have dealt with financial problems over the last several years.

The two schools, among others, have become victims of their own short lives, Vedder said. They do not have the vast donor base nor the brand recognition to carry them through tough fiscal times like Kenyon College near Columbus or Oberlin College near Cleveland both do.

“They certainly don’t have a longstanding reputation,” Vedder said. “Kenyon and Oberlin are not having these kinds of problems.”

RELATED: WSU interim president: ‘Our financial picture is grim’

Long-standing reputations have not been able to help all area colleges avoid the pitfalls of financial problems though as Wittenberg, Urbana, Antioch, Wilberforce and CSU all started in the 1800s.

In some cases, a long history can be an impediment. While history can help schools weather storms, Fecher said it can hinder schools too.

Without a bloated bureaucracy that accompanies a century of existence, Fecher said WSU should be able to adapt easier.

“I would agree with that but there’s also some advantages,” Fecher said. “We should be able to be more nimble.”

‘Downward spiral’

As local colleges struggle, two have already been to the brink of closing and back.

Antioch College in Yellow Springs closed in 2008 when the school separated from its then-parent company, the Antioch University system. The now separate college reopened in 2011 with the help of alumni who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

RELATED: Antioch University in Yellow Springs could move to south Dayton

Like other area schools, Antioch was the victim of financial problems, partially triggered by declining enrollment. Those challenges still exist as a new Antioch tries to find its foothold in the region.

“Creating a financial pathway…in these times is a struggle for even large research universities,” president Tom Manley said. “We really needed to build on Antioch College’s distinction…I think we’re very close to sort of nailing it down.”

Antioch has gone to great lengths to save money. After it reopened, the college started a farm to grow food and raise animals that are served in a dining hall. Rather than paying someone else to fix things, alumni do it for free, Manley said

Another area liberal arts college would have closed had it not been bailed out by a Columbus school.

Urbana University was acquired by Franklin University in 2014. Though it retains its name and sports teams, Urbana will officially become a branch campus of Franklin this summer, said David Decker, Franklin University president.

RELATED: Urbana University begins first year after rare, rapid acquisition

The finances of the acquisition have not been revealed nor has the full scope of what caused Urbana’s troubles.

Like other liberal arts colleges though, Decker said Urbana struggled to maintain its enrollment. The school partially caused its own “downward spiral” by offering discounts so deep that they eventually lost Urbana money.

“Urbana was not going to survive. It was going to go out of business,” Decker said. “We looked at it as a project.”

A ‘number of headwinds’

Schools may soon be forced to pool their expertise and share operations more often.

“I do think we will have to evolve with one another,” Fecher said. “All of us together are stronger than we are separate.”

The Southwestern Ohio Council of Higher Education is already spearheading collaboration between colleges so they can save money.

RELATED: Wilberforce University announces layoffs, pay cuts and furlough for employees

When it comes to enrollment, SOCHE is encouraging colleges to work together rather than compete for the same students, said president Sean Creighton. To target specific groups of students, SOCHE is looking to the “big-brand publics,” such as the University of Cincinnati or Ohio State, Creighton said.

“They’ve become experts in it,” Creighton said. “Certain schools are just doing a much better job at reaching specific students.”

Top 5 schools in the Miami Valley by enrollment
Name Population
Miami University 18,541
Wright State University 14,034
Sinclair Community College 12,212
University of Dayton 10,790
Clark State Community College 3,664

Area colleges are also looking to share certain resources and services, officials said.

Colleges already work together through purchasing consortiums so they have more leverage when it comes to buying things. They are also required by the state to work together to make sure any new programs don’t overlap too much with neighboring colleges, officials said.

Creighton expects arrangements like that to grow over time.

RELATED: SOCHE on track to meet 2020 internship goal for students

“We’re at a point now where the business model is being so hyper-disrupted that they may have no choice,” Creighton said.

In Georgia, some public colleges have gone so far as to merge. The state has combined 14 colleges into seven since 2011, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

But, Dayton area leaders stopped short of saying their institutions would ever combine with other ones and Creighton said he’d like to see every area school survive.

The president of Wilberforce University, America’s oldest private historically black college, said the university will never “entertain the notion of a merger with another institution.” It would be nearly impossible, president Herman Felton said, for Wilberforce to merge with Central State across the street since CSU is public and Wilberforce is private.

RELATED: Central State taken off fiscal watch as Wright State edges toward it

Wright State should at some point consider merging with Sinclair Community College, Vedder said. But, while the two are each other’s biggest feeders of students, Fecher said he couldn’t see it ever happening.

“I think there’s a fair number of headwinds facing higher education,” Fecher said. “But, I don’t think they’re insurmountable. I don’t see (merging) as a possibility here.”

Map: Universities and colleges in Ohio

Source: Associations of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Higher Education

Ohio Politics Today: Should medics stop responding to overdoses?; Senate releases health bill details

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

A Middletown city council member has suggested not responding to certain calls to where a person who has overdosed multiple times in the past. Councilman Dan Picard said he wants to instill fear in people who overdose in Middletown that no one will respond with Narcan to save their life. (Photo via Nick Graham/ Cox Media Group Ohio)

Here’s a look at today’s top political stories from around Ohio and Washington.

Getting tough on drug overdoses

Frustration with the escalating opiate epidemic is growing, along with costs for localities and emergency medical services.

Middletown City Council member Dan Picard asked during this week’s meeting if the city was bound by law to respond to overdoses

Picard noted people with cancer don’t get free treatment, neither do people suffering heart attacks get free bypasses. 

City manager Doug Adkins said the city is en route to spending $100,000 on NARCAN this year after budgeting $10,000 for 2017. 

Details release on Senate health care bill

Senate Republicans released details of its version of the GOP Congressional healthcare bill. Details included phasing out Medicaid’s list of essential health benefits,  would set the individual mandate penalty to $0, and repeal taxes put in place by the Affordable Care Act. 

The bill isn’t a true repeal of ACA, or Obamacare, but an overhaul through budget reconciliation, and would leave much of ACA infrastructure in place. The fact it isn’t a true repeal has raised consternation among some Republicans

Trump says he doesn’t have tapes on Comey

President Trump seemed to admit in a Thursday tweet he does not have recordings of his meeting with former FBI Director James Comey.

3. Most panhandlers operating in the area are working in teams, and are also addicted to opiates, according to Amelia Robinson and her latest on Dayton.com.

4. Ohio Congressional Democrat Tim Ryan made a quick summary of his party’s defeats  in all four of Tuesday’s special elections - the Democratic party brand is worse than Trump. Ryan took on Nancy Pelosi for the position of minority leader, but was roundly defeated. Ryan’s frustrations with the national party are similar to other non-coastal Democrats.

Quick Hits

* Vice President Mike Pence will visit Cleveland on June 28, according to Cleveland.com, continuing the administration’s steady presence in the Buckeye state.

Akron’s Mayor and City Council are asking for an income tax increase to deal with aging buildings and less funding from the state, according to the Beacon Journal. 

* WHIO: Gubernatorial candidate wants to create a buy-in option to join the Medicaid program

* DDN: Victim’s rights activists have collected half million signatures to put on the ballot an Ohio Constitutional amendment requiring courts to give victims the same rights as the accused in court. 

Marijuana growers taking an interest in Monroe

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

            As the deadline nears to apply for a state license to operate a medical marijuana business, Monroe officials say they have received at least three inquiries about the city’s zoning regulations. JACKIE BORCHARDT/ADVANCE OHIO MEDIA

As the deadline nears to apply for a state license to operate a medical marijuana business, Monroe officials say they have received at least three inquiries about the city’s zoning regulations and that multiple building and land owners have received other inquiries as well.

Monroe does not have a marijuana moratorium, unlike other communities in the area because City Council wanted to see how the new rules would develop across the state, according to City Manager Bill Brock.

MORE: Carlisle rescinds part of marijuana ban, sells land to cultivator

Brock said the inquiries Monroe received came from two representatives interested in building a small growing facility of up to 25,000 square-feet, and from a larger grower looking at a facility of up to 100,000 square-feet.

“We would consider it, but we’d need to get more information about the growing operation,” he said. “Once they figure out what kind of facility will be built, then we can figure out where they can locate. Everything we’ve been hearing has been for internal growing.”

Brock said on the license application forms, the state asks if a community has a moratorium or a zoning approval. However, Monroe does not approve zoning until a site plan has been submitted.

MORE: South Carolinian wants to grow medical marijuana in Warren County

“There’s a limited number of licenses and they need the information to apply,” he said. “They’re scrambling to get their ducks in a row.”

Brock said the city’s zoning regulations permit uses for pharmaceutical, research and laboratory facilities in the industrial districts and growing in the agricultural and commercial districts. He said the three representatives sent the city a form to certify that the zoning would allow such a facility.

“We’ll study the state rules, how it affect the city, where it would go, and how it would affect our residents,” he said.