By Jeff Piorkowski, Special to Sun News
(Courtesy of Northeast Ohio Media Group)
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- University Suburban Health Center is the city's second largest employer behind Notre Dame College), and aids the city in many ways.
Those ways include donating land for a community garden, purchasing a police K-9 and a bullet-proof vest for one of those dogs, sponsoring last week's HarvestFest, backing Community Partnership on Aging programs, and more. Over the years as I've written about the above things, University Suburban didn't necessarily want public credit for their acts in support of
That shyness is now dissipating. Those who head the health center, 1611 S. Green Road, are speaking up in this time of confusion and distress -- and competition -- over health care and its costs.
University Suburban Assistant Executive Director Gregory McCarthy, during a recent sit-down, emphasized one point about the facility. You can pay less by using University Suburban and at the same time get the identical care you would expect from University Hospitals doctors and healthcare professionals. That may be two points.
At any rate, the cost is lower McCarthy explained, because other hospital-owned facilities are permitted to tack on a frequently large facility fee to their costs. University Suburban does not.
"We're not a hospital-based provider," McCarthy said. "Our rates are one-third less in most cases than hospital-based facilities."
"There's a lot of confusion because people see 'University Hospitals' on our sign," explained Executive Director Doug Eckert. "Our building is 51-percent owned by University Suburban Health Center, and 49-percent by University Hospitals, so we cannot charge the higher rates that hospitals do."
Eckert went on to say that all University Suburban doctors are on the staff of University Hospitals and are on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine or School of Dentistry.
Imaging results from MRIs or X-rays are read by University Hospitals radiologists. University Suburban, which has been in existence since 1973 on what had previously been the home of Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, has its own diagnostic imaging and clinical laboratory departments.
As a way of comparing costs, Assistant Executive Director Barbara McCann showed figures she found on health care providers' web sites pertaining to costs. For example, a simple three-view ankle X-ray at The Cleveland Clinic is listed for $252; atUniversity Hospital's Richmond Medical Center, the cost is $562; and at UH's Southwest General Hospital, it's $420.
Start the drum roll for the University Suburban cost as stated in its brochure for the same X-ray -- $86. And, that brochure also notes that patients always have a choice as to where they can receive their health care.
"You're getting hospital care at dramatically reduced rates," McCarthy said.
"We just want to remind people," Eckert said, "that you've got a tremendous asset in your own back yard as people are getting more concerned about health care costs."
So, there you have it. If you're experiencing the blues from an overly high deductible and are looking to save money, it might be worth it to check out University Suburban Health Center.
They're not remaining silent about what they do any more.