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MILLERSBURG -- Pomerene Hospital is taking steps to become the new manager of a local fitness center, Kinetics Fitness For Life, which offers fitness equipment and wellness programs to nearly 500 members.
On Thursday, hospital board members gave their blessing and voted to push forward with a leasing agreement between Dr. Staush Cass, current owner of Kinetics, and Health Professionals of Holmes County.
Addressing the board, chief financial officer Jason Justus said the move would be "a strategic opportunity for the hospital," and "is a natural extension of our mission and our concern for community health."
Justus noted the hospital was originally approached by Cass, who was looking for a potential community partner. The agreement seemed to be advantageous for all parties involved, and will ensure an important asset stays in the community.
By managing and running the fitness center, the hospital will be able to expand its services and keep up with recent reforms in the health industry -- with a renewed emphasis on wellness and preventative care, rather than simply on "sick care."
"With the recent passing of the ACA health reform, one of the changes has been extending care beyond the actual four walls of the hospital," Justus said. "That's the natural evolution in wellness, and this step will help us model that change."
When patients come to the hospital, "they're already sick, so we see them at the tailof the health cycle," Justus added. "Working out of the hospital, at the fitness center, really puts us on the frontof that cycle."
Tony Snyder, chief executive officer, agreed, noting the move "is a natural progression for us," and "we see many opportunities in fitness and wellness services."
The finance committee is considering different ways to relate the fitness center to other services at the hospital, according to Justus, including using it to create an employee health and wellness program.
Another possible tie-in is with an expanded orthopedics program, with a special focus on sports medicine, athletic training and physical therapy.
As the hospital is still in the process of negotiating the agreement, no decisions have been made "to change staffing or pricing of Kinetics membership," according to a formal statement issued by the hospital.
For his part, Cass said he is excited about the transition and believes it will benefit "all of our current members as well as the whole community."
Reporter Brandon Zaffini can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com