LIMA — Ground was ceremoniously broken Monday on a new state-of-the-art, $15 million medical residency campus at Lima’s Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
If all goes according to plan, in a little more than a year the hospital’s new Graduate Medical Education Center will be ready to serve as a training ground for medical resident physicians looking to obtain extensive training in internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine and general surgery.
The campus, which will be open to medical staff, emergency responders and occasionally to the general public, is being constructed across from the hospital’s emergency department at the corner of Market and Collett streets.
Several of the seven individuals who addressed the crowd at Monday’s ceremonies made mention of how the new facility will help the community address a nationwide physician shortage.
“It’s been predicted that there will be a 100,000 physician shortage over the next five years,” said Dr. Kevin Casey, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health-Lima.
State Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, said he and fellow lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse have been made aware of that shortage. The veteran legislator lauded Monday’s groundbreaking as a “confirmation of a vision … to address that shortage in a promising and long-term way.”
“This will be a new landmark here in our county. There’s never been anything like this in Lima or Allen County,” Cupp continued. “I congratulate and commend you (hospital officials) for your vision.”
David Faulkner, project manager for the GME Center, said the groundbreaking marks a “very special day, not only for Mercy Health-St. Rita’s but for our patients, our staff and our community. We appreciate all your support.”
As about a dozen special guests grabbed shovels for the obligatory groundbreaking photo, Ronda Lehman, market president at Mercy Health-Lima, climbed aboard a backhoe strategically positioned for the occasion.
In her remarks to the crowd a few moments earlier, Lehman said the GME Center “will help elevate the level and quality of medical care provided in our community.” She said the leadership team at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s “is committed to training the next generations, plural, of medical professionals in this state-of-the-art facility.”
The 48,000-square-foot education center will feature a 250-seat lecture hall and high-tech simulation labs intended to mimic real-life emergency room or surgical procedures.
Faulkner said the target completion date for the facility is the winter of 2020.
When the residency programs are fully in effect, which Casey previously predicted will happen within the next three years, St. Rita’s will be training more than 100 medical resident physicians in Lima each year.