WHERE ELSE CAN YOU SEE BUSHES SNIPPED to look like a post-impressionistic painting, visit the zoo that brought forth the first gorilla born in captivity, and know that the citizens’ ingenuity created banana splits, 24-hour banking machines, and Xerox machines?
“Columbus is a town in which almost anything is likely to happen and in which almost everything has,” wrote one of America’s favorite humorists, James Thurber, who was born and raised in Ohio’s capital city.
While he never claimed to be a visionary, Thurber’s description still fits Columbus nearly four decades after the writer’s death. Columbus is the largest city in the Buckeye State and the only midwestern city to consistently rank among the 50 fastest-growing U.S. cities in INC. Magazine’s annual survey. The city is home to five Fortune 500 companies and has leading high-tech scientific and technical information companies such as CompuServe’s headquarters and Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies facilities, as well as Battelle Memorial Institute, incubator of many high-tech ideas and one of the largest private research organizations in the world. Progress and innovation are part of the everyday vocabulary of Columbus, making it still entirely possible that almost anything can happen here—bushes can even be made to resemble a painting
The bushes resembling a painting can be found at Columbus’ Topiary Garden, which features the only topiary recreation of Georges Seurat’s painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
Three heads of health
Mimi Ghosh, MD, finds Columbus full of opportunities for a family practice physician. She works solo in her office, but she’s employed by MedOhio, a primary-care group practice of about 30 physicians associated with The Ohio State University (OSU). As part of her contract, she’s involved in administration, and she lends a hand in marketing for OSU by appearing on local radio health programs.
“I’ve had male patients who haven’t been to a doctor in years come in because they heard me on the radio,” says Ghosh, 31.
Although the majority of her patients are women who see her for gynecological care, she views her work as a true family practice. “I have the teen girls because I’m young, and then I have the wives bringing in their husbands for the first time for a checkup as they get into their 40s and middle age. When I have several family members like that, I really get to understand my patients,” she says.
Because her practice is affiliated with the university, many of her patients are OSU employees, who are “very knowledgeable, and well-informed” about health care, Ghosh says.
She believes the employee benefits OSU offers enhance the medical care Ghosh can provide. “They have wellness and prevention programs, diabetes management programs, lifestyle and fitness programs. Through the free checkups those programs offer, people might see they have a possible problem and get a referral to me,” Ghosh says. “It’s a nice connection for everyone, where they feel they’re being well taken care of.”
Ghosh, a Canadian, practiced locum tenens in Canada before she came to Columbus two years ago. The experience with Canada’s national health program prepared her for the challenges posed by managed care in the United States.
“I fought against much different things in Canada,” she says, however. “With the government as the only payer, you run into problems of not enough doctors and difficulty scheduling patients for surgeries and other procedures. It’s a different kind of frustration,” Ghosh says.
While she knows some doctors would feel restricted by the organization of OSU, Ghosh says she likes the checks and balances built into a larger system. It tracks whether she’s seeing enough patients and asks patients to evaluate the care her office provides. “Working in the examination rooms all day, it’s hard for me to see the customer feedback on the overall care they get in our office,” she says. “If someone 60 years old were coming into this, it would be a difficult situation to adapt to, but I like working for a large organization.”
OSU is one of a triumvirate of hospital and medical-care organizations in Columbus. It owns OSU Medical Center on the university’s main campus, OSU Hospital East, formerly Park Medical Center, OSU Hospital Harding, a behavioral and mental-health services facility in Worthington on the northern outskirts of Columbus, and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, one of only 34 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation. Through its OSU Health Network, the university is affiliated with six hospitals and one clinic in smaller communities in the state.
OhioHealth is another health-care leader here, with four hospitals in the city and seven in outlying communities. It acquired Doctors Hospital in 1998, an osteopathic teaching hospital with two campuses. OhioHealth also owns the two Grant/Riverside Methodist Hospitals.
Finally, Mt. Carmel comprises Mt Carmel East, Mt. Carmel West, and St. Ann’s hospitals.
“Basically, there are three big camps that people work for,” Ghosh says of the Columbus medical community. In fact, her husband, David Groen, MD, is a family physician associated with Mt. Carmel. “I think it really broadens our horizons to know people from these two very large corporations,” Ghosh says.