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Excela Health eyes Hempfield for facility

| Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Excela Health officials said they are close to a deal to acquire land in Hempfield for another ambulatory care center.

“We're zoned in on property behind Sam's Club,” said Jen Miele, vice president of marketing and communications for Excela.

The site is off Route 30 behind the Sam's Club shopping center. If the deal is completed, the clinic will be accessible from Routes 30 and 66 via the Amos K. Hutchinson Expressway, which runs from Delmont to the Pennsylvania Turnpike at New Stanton.

Excela looked at the same site previously but put plans aside after it was unable to reach a deal with the owners, THS Realty.

The pending decision comes on the heels of an announcement Thursday that Excela purchased Laurel Surgical Center on Donohoe Road in Hempfield for nearly $11 million. The 16,000-square-foot facility employs 29 physicians in 10 specialties. It has three operating rooms, two procedure rooms, eight beds, six step-down units, seven post-anesthesia care units and a private recovery room, according to Excela officials.

Miele said the acquisition follows the hiring of 17 physicians in July and August including five obstetrician-gynecologists, six hospitalists, two general surgeons, two orthopedic surgeons, one rheumatologist and a vascular surgeon. She said Excela has added 48 physicians to its staff since January 2012.

Excela has had success with Excela Square, an ambulatory care center opened in North Huntingdon after the hospital system purchased Norwin Hills Shopping Center for nearly $20 million.

Excela is beginning construction on a similar facility in Unity. Miele said work will begin on three roads in Unity linking the facility to routes 981 and 30 and to the nearby Wal-Mart plaza, as well as excavation and installation of utilities. Officials hope to complete that work by fall.

Excela plans to open a smaller operation adjacent to the Ligonier YMCA.

After backing off a previous purchase in Hempfield, Excela had considered building an ambulatory care center near its hospital in Greensburg as part of a proposed “heath care district.”

Ambulatory care centers, sometimes called medical malls, have become more popular as hospital admissions decline. The trend in the health care industry is toward smaller, one-stop facilities that provide many of the same services as stand-alone hospitals, according to experts.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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