LIMA — Frustration is building among veterans in Lima who visit the Lima Community Based Outpatient Clinic, a facility for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dayton.
The clinic outgrew its current offices on Bellefontaine Avenue. Plans to relocate the CBOC to larger medical offices at 750 High St. have stalled as the Dayton VA Medical Center negotiates with the landowner, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s.
The process itself started about six years ago, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the Dayton VA Medical Center found a suitable location in the 9,750 square-foot office space at 750 High St.
“We’re just frustrated that every time we turn around, they give us another excuse,” said Steve Montgomery, who sits on the CBOC advisory committee in Lima. “The one that needs to move is St. Rita’s. They’re the hold up.”
Jonathon Fauvie, a public relations manager for Mercy Health-Great Lakes Group in Youngstown, said one issue is that tenants who lease space on land owned by Mercy Health are required to abide by ethical religious directives.
“(Those) are the driving force for any Catholic healthcare entity,” Fauvie said.
Fauvie noted Mercy Health owns the land but not the building at 750 High St., another possible complication.
Richard Brewer, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1275 and assistant chair for the CBOC advisory committee, has been fielding questions from veterans served by the CBOC’s eight-county region for months. He wants to see significant progress soon, otherwise Brewer thinks the Dayton VA Medical Center should start looking for another place to rent.
“We want (Mercy Health) to know the veterans’ community is upset,” said Brewer, who feels disrespected by the delays and excuses he’s heard. “We want this. It’s a big project for them.”
Representatives from the Dayton VA Medical Center met with members of the Lima CBOC advisory committee Thursday afternoon. But it was unclear Thursday night whether parties with the Dayton VA Medical Center and Mercy Health-St. Rita’s made any progress since that meeting.
Mercy Health sent the following statement on Friday morning:
“Mercy Health - St. Rita’s Medical Center has remained a constant point of care for families living throughout Allen County since 1918. As the ministry prepares for another Century of caring, community partnerships and collaborations are the cornerstone economic sustainability as well as part of the mission of St. Rita’s.
We believe that all the lease issues have been resolved and done so in a way that reflects compliance with the ERDs (Ethical Religious Directives) that guide Catholic Health Care. Mercy Health is excited about the opportunity to be part of continuing to serve the brave men and women who gave selflessly to defend our freedoms.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.