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Report recommends Cincinnati Health Department move services, buildings

Bobbie Sterne Health Center
Zack Carreon
Bobbie Sterne Health Center

Members of Cincinnati's Board of Health and Primary Care Board heard recommendations on Friday for the Health Department's master plan.

The department currently owns and operates numerous health centers and administrative buildings around town and leases several others.

A consultant for the department, Jensen Partners, provided three recommendation bundles for the board members to consider, which included suggestions to move some services to different buildings and combine others.

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The first bundle presented recommends the department relocate some locations to more densely populated areas to use space more efficiently. The plan would move services from Bobbie Sterne Health Center in Over-the-Rhine to either Downtown or West Price Hill. It also recommended the department lease a new administrative building and move the Millvale Health Center to a different location due to its current capacity constraints.

The second bundle suggests combining Bobbie Sterne with the Price Hill Health Center and expanding the services at the location. Millvale and the Northside Health Center would also be combined similarly.

The third plan would shift Bobbie Sterne, Price Hill, Millvale, and Northside health centers to redesigned buildings in slightly different locations and rebranding them so they would have matching facades. The Bobbie Sterne Health Center would have the option of moving Downtown or close to West Price Hill. Jenson Partners says this move would put health centers in more convenient locations and make them more easily identifiable to the public.

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If one of these bundles was selected, it would take years before the department moved forward with any of the plans.

Health Department CFO Mark Menkhaus noted a plan to combine facilities would be to expand services at those locations, not shrink them.

"This is not a matter of cutting staff when we talk about combining locations," Menkhaus said. "We're talking about building out for growth."

Health Commissioner Grant Gussman says the department and board members will seek public input before deciding on any one of the recommendations.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.