Health & Wellness

Window on clinic closing

It has been over a year since the Yellow Springs Family Health Center operated by Wright State University Physicians left Yellow Springs, and six months since the facility on Xenia Avenue was demolished. But according to Dr. Howard Part, dean of the WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine, the clinic has not been able to secure the funds needed to rebuild a medical center on the now vacant lot in town. The university will soon consider the future of the approximately four acres on Xenia Avenue between Herman and Marshall Streets.

“In the not too distant future we will begin the process of evaluating selling the property — we’re coming to that crossroads,” Part said last week. “For the school of medicine, it doesn’t make sense to keep it in perpetuity.”

When the family practice moved to its temporary location at Greene Memorial Hospital in Xenia in July 2009, medical director Cynthia Olsen spoke of her hope to rebuild and return the practice to the village. But the biggest road block has been the lack of funding the project has attracted.

The projected budget to rebuild a 10,000-square-foot modern medical center on the site is $2.5 million, which would need to be financed with zero subsidy from the university, according to Part. To get the project financed, the university anticipated needing to secure a “sub-

stantial leadership gift” to use as a down payment for the loan. Part estimated the amount needed was probably close to $1 million.

“The goal was to raise enough money to build a project where the practice would support the cost of building,” he said. Olsen could not be reached for comment.

Last spring the Morgan Family Foundation offered the university a $50,000 grant for the project on condition that its leaders demonstrate local interest in the project by raising other local funds.

“We hoped they may be able to use that prospect of a gift to encourage others to contribute,” Morgan Foundation Director Lori Kuhn said last week.

Several individuals in the community did voice a willingness to contribute if the project could be guaranteed to materialize, Part said. But especially with the federal and state budgets still so uncertain, the university could not be the financial guarantor for a capital project, he said.

In the coming months the university will consult with the four Family Health Center physicians currently practicing at GMH on how to move forward by either establishing a permanent residence at the hospital or moving to another site.

Currently the family practice includes five physicians and 10 other staff members who receive just under 11,000 patient visits per year.

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