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The Affinity Medical Center closing will add 30 minutes round trip for EMS workers

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-11 09:33:20-05

It's been a community wide effort stretching over several months to save the Affinity Medical Center in Massillion.

Earlier this month, Massillon City Council had an emergency meeting where they decided to purchase the hospital with hopes for someone to come in and take Affinity's place or for employees to step up and manage it themselves.

But until a decision is made about the property, Affinity is scheduled to close Sunday night and area EMS crews are concerned.

"I believe over 70 percent of our calls last year went to Affinity Medical Center," said Massillon Firefighter Union President Patrick Perkowski.

He says the closest hospitals to them now are Mercy Medical Center and Aultman Hospital, both in Canton.

"I know for us in Massillon its going to add about 5 miles to every transport, so it's probably going to add an additional 30 minutes per call," said Perkowski.

Not only does Perkowski say travel time will be added for each patient, but the number of emergency calls Massillon' first responders are getting keep going up.

In 2017, the amount of calls increased by 410 from the amount received in 2016. And the increase is continuing. In  January alone, Massillon EMS saw 63 more calls than last January. The city is now trying to compensate for that.

"I know our city they increased our man power to 12, so now we have a fourth ambulance, we bought additional equipment," he said.

With Affinity closing Sunday night at 11:59 PM, 808 employees will lose their jobs, and the city of Massillon will lose their only hospital.