BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ed Muransky remembers what it was like in the early ’90s when he first broached the idea of building a for-profit healthcare facility in Boardman.
Twenty-five years ago, Southwoods Health welcomed its first patients. CEO Ed Muransky said at a time when local hospitals in the area were suffering financially, he was hearing about what he calls the “inefficiencies” of health care in the Valley, coupled with the migration of people moving out of the inner city.
“Back then, it wasn’t easy. It was something viewed that it was an attack against the hospitals. It wasn’t looked at as pro-Youngstown or pro-community as it is now,” Muransky said. “As more things move to outpatient and more things move to the suburbs, and as places closed, we really continued to do the same thing.”
Muransky says since Southwoods first opened, medical technology has continued to evolve and improve, moving further away from requiring long hospital stays and focusing on outpatient care.
“It has grown 500%. The type of procedures you are able to have, I mean, who would have ever thought that somebody healthy like you could maybe have a knee (procedure) and go home the same day,” Muransky said.
Muransky says his overall plan is to keep patients from needing to leave the area for their care and keep them closer to home.
“Those things are for the things that you and I don’t want to travel more than a mile or two for,” Muransky said. “If Bon Secours-Mercy and Southwoods are not providing something, then I have people traveling outside of Youngstown to get it done.”
To Muransky’s way of thinking, that leads to a domino effect of not only fewer health care dollars being spent locally but also fewer physicians and other medical workers living here. But as Southwoods observes its 25th Anniversary in the Valley, Muransky sees medicine changing even further.
“They will make their money on keeping people healthier and getting more involved. We hear wellness. What the heck is wellness? That’s where that is all headed,” Muransky said.
For years after Southwoods first opened, there was talk of Muransky wanting to pursue a stand-alone, full-service facility. He even purchased land for it along Western Reserve Road near Interstate I-680, but then he met a retired health care insurance executive in Pennsylvania. Muransky said the two struck up a conversation, and he explained his plans for a $250 million-mega facility in Beaver Township. Muransky says the retired executive told him that was crazy and that the future was in outpatient care.
“He said it’s gonna be exponentially greater as breakthroughs happen in medicine. He said just keep doing what you are doing,” Muransky said.
Muransky believes there is a growing need for cancer care locally as well as neurology and digestive health. He said he may still develop the land he bought for the mega-facility but it will be geared toward what patients in the Valley need.
Southwoods has 1,000 employees at more than a dozen locations in the four-county area.