Graphic Provided by Knox Community Hospital

Graphic provided by Knox Community Hospital

Groundbreaking on a new Knox Community Hospital Family Care Center will take place this summer with an opening date in late 2019. The $45 million project includes redesigned spaces at the hospital and Knox Medical Pavilion.


MOUNT VERNON — An 80,000-square-foot pavilion will soon be added to the Knox Community Hospital campus with a focus on family.

The facility will merge current family-oriented operations with new and expanded services while making room for changes in the main hospital and the pavilion. The decision, years in the making, sprouted from dialogue about how KCH can better serve the community.

“Family care really started to bubble to the top,” Bruce White, KCH chief executive officer, told the News. “As we [started to] employ the physicians to provide that primary care service in the community, they’ve been in different spots. … We would like to have them together so that they can share resources and be more efficient in their operations and hopefully make it easier to make appointments.”

The anchor for the project is a birthing center that doubles the birthing suites from four to eight, adds a surgical room for cesarean births and integrates ideas suggested by local consumer groups. With four OB/GYNs and a midwife, White believes KCH is positioning itself to see tremendous growth in the number of births taking place at the hospital.

What also makes this new concept in childbirth attractive, White said, is that it is removed from the typical hospital setting.

“Why go into a place where sick people are when you can go into a place that’s designed specifically for birthing,” White said.

Childbirth is just the beginning of services that will be available in this one-stop-family-medicine facility, but it is at day one of life, where hospital officials are working to retain health care consumers.

“The whole idea of adding new OB/GYNs and adding pediatrics ought to lend themselves to more mothers having the opportunity to choose to have their children here,” said Jeffrey Scott, director of marketing and community development. “You are going to have your baby wherever your OB/GYN is. … You are going to stay in the community for the care of that child after the birth if there is a pediatrician that shows up and introduces herself and checks your baby.”

The Family Care Center will also house pediatricians, family practice physicians, women’s health and will merge the two cardiology groups and the cardiology rehabilitation program.

KCH is also cognizant of the role mental health care plays in the overall health of each individual. As a result, behavioral health care counselors will be part of the plan.

“Within the new medical office building, we are creating space for behavioral health counselors to be right there so that primary care physicians can send patients down the hall to knock on their door,” said Bruce Behner Jr., chief operating officer. He said the role of the counselors are varied but they would work “in tandem” with other professionals to get to the core of the patient’s “unique struggles.”

Graphic Provided by Knox Community Hospital

Graphic provided by Knox Community Hospital


New and expanding programs

As operations move from the main hospital to the Family Care Center, new programs are being planned to take over vacant spaces. Included in program expansion is an emphasis on the aging population. Officials are currently recruiting for a neurologist and a specialist in rheumatology, according to Behner. In addition, a 12-bed geropsychology unit is being planned for the third floor. This specialty will work with senior citizens to help them cope with situations associated with the aging process and health care issues to help them life full lives.

A new general surgeon is expected to start in the fall and develop a bariatrics program.

As women’s health moves from the pavilion, this will make room to expand the Cancer Care Center and additional beds will be added to the New Vision program that provides detox care for those with opioid and alcohol addiction issues.

“Expansion of existing services, the potential opportunities to bring in new services that before we were too space constrained to do, are all peripheral benefits of this new building. It helps us add value to what we can provide to the community,” said White.

Graphic Provided by Knox Community Hospital

Graphic provided by Knox Community Hospital



The overall project — the new building and renovation for new and expanding services — comes with a $45 million price tag. Pledges from Ariel Foundation, Ted and the late Ann Schnormeier and more than 50 individuals, businesses and organizations have already committed $10 million to the project. Donation opportunities are available at

“The hospital is in a sound financial position and we have great philanthropic support from the community,” White said. “When the community supports you by reaching into their pocket, you know you are doing the right thing.”

Graphic Provided by Knox Community Hospital

Graphic provided by Knox Community Hospital


New facility

The first step in construction will be to move the current employee parking lot which sits to the east of the main hospital, according to Ron Stull, KCH building services manager. The Family Care Center will be built next to the pavilion with the first floor facing the Cancer Care Center.

The design of the Family Care Center will blend seamlessly with the campus and will include a lot of glass, according to Stull, to bring in direct sunlight.

The four-story building feature the birthing center on the second or “main” floor and will have 24-hour access from the exterior of the building.

A raised walking path will connect the Family Care Center with KCH and will allow for quick access to the surgical unit should there be an emergency, said Behner.

Ground breaking is planned for July 16, and if all goes as Stull has planned, the new facility will be open at the end of 2019.


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Press release from Knox Community Hospital

MOUNT VERNON — Knox Community Hospital, an independent, community-owned, not-for-profit hospital located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, will soon begin the largest growth and expansion project in its history with the addition of a four-story, 80,000-square-foot Family Care Center on its main campus. Construction is expected to begin in July.

“This is an exciting time for KCH and for our community,” said Bruce White, Chief Executive Officer. “The new Family Care Center will allow us to locate many of the services our community needs and accesses most frequently in one state-of-the-art care center, while also creating additional clinical space in our existing facilities for new and expanded services.”

The Family Care Center will be the new home for cardiology clinics, cardiac testing and cardiac rehabilitation; family medicine and pediatric providers; women’s diagnostic imaging, obstetrics and gynecology services; and a brand-new birthing center. “As a community-owned entity, and as the only hospital in Knox County, birthing services are essential to our mission,” said White. “We want to ensure that every woman giving birth to a child in Knox County has the highest quality care in the most advanced and comfortable setting available close to home.”

The new birthing center will feature eight Labor Delivery Recovery Post-Partum (LDRP) rooms, two additional, spacious post-partum rooms, and a surgical suite to accommodate C-section deliveries. This will mean that, barring unforeseen emergencies, mothers and newborns will be able to receive all the necessary care they require without ever having to step foot in the hospital. Additionally, a skywalk will provide direct access from the new birthing center to the hospital, offering easy passage between both buildings for staff, and allowing quick access in the case of an emergency.

With the recent addition of several new OB providers as well as a Certified Nurse Midwife, KCH has already seen a dramatic growth in the number of babies born in the first part of 2018. “Historically, around eight hundred children are born to Knox County residents each year,” explained Joanne Yates, Director of Birthing Services. “Traditionally, around four hundred of those are delivered at our facility. However, we have already seen more than 150 births in 2018, and the new birthing center will easily accommodate eight hundred births each year. That means more families will have the option of delivering closer to home, and in a comfortable home-like setting instead of a hospital atmosphere.”

The first floor of the planned structure will bring together a number of family medicine practitioners, both physicians and advanced practice providers, in one location, allowing more convenient access to primary care, easier scheduling of appointments, and reduced wait times. The birthing center will be located on the second floor, with direct ground-level access, as the facility will be located on the hill behind the existing hospital tower and Knox Medical Pavilion.

The third floor will be home to the obstetrics and gynecology providers, women’s diagnostic imaging, and pediatric providers. KCH recently brought pediatrician Dr. Svetlana Titishina, who is known to her patients as Dr. Lana, to the community, and expects to add several additional pediatric providers over the next few years. The fourth floor will feature cardiology clinics, cardiac testing, and a new state-of-the-art cardiac rehabilitation center.

The total cost of the project, including both new construction and the renovation of existing space is estimated to be approximately $45 million. While that is certainly a significant investment, The Foundation for Knox Community Hospital, a separate 501 (c) (3) organization made up of volunteer community leaders who annually raise money and support for KCH, has already been hard at work over the past eighteen months in anticipation of this project. To date, nearly $10 million in lead gifts and pledges have been raised by The Foundation before construction has even begun.

“Significant lead gifts and pledges from organizations like Ariel Foundation and corporate partners such as First-Knox National Bank have been instrumental in getting this project off the ground,” said Charlie Brenneman, Chair of The Foundation for KCH and a member of the KCH Board of Trustees. “Additionally, Ann and Ted Schnormeier, who have long supported our work, made a very generous gift toward this project just before Ann passed away last year. We are thrilled that Ann’s legacy will live on through this project and the many others she and Ted have supported over the years. “ Ann Schnormeier served on both The Foundation and KCH boards for many years. So far, more than fifty donors, organizations, and corporations have already pledged financial support to the Family Care Center through The Foundation.

The Foundation recently launched a new four-year campaign to support the expansion project. Details about the campaign and additional information about how to support the effort can be found at Meanwhile, KCH is in the process of securing a loan through the Department of Housing and Urban Development while The Foundation pursues additional funding. “Because of the organization’s strong financial position, the outstanding community support we have already received, and the low interest rate environment in which we find ourselves, this seemed to be the ideal time to make this kind of investment in the future health of our community,” said White.

Details regarding a formal groundbreaking ceremony will be forthcoming, and KCH intends to provide a number of creative opportunities for the community to follow the project from start to finish. KCH expects the new Family Care Center to be completed and serving the community at the end of 2019.

“We believe that this expansion will make Knox Community Hospital an even more valuable resource for the community, and we believe the community will be even stronger and healthier as a result of this investment,” said White. “Knox County is already such a great place to live, work, and raise a family. This project is an important way in which, together, we can all ensure that it stays that way for many years to come.”

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Samantha Scoles: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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