Conemaugh Meyersdale Medical Center open house

Imaging manager Mark Meekins (right) shows off Conemaugh Meyersdale Medical Center’s new $800,000 radiology system to (from left) Betty Burns-worth, Harry Beal and Fadra Reichard during an open house on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

MEYERSDALE – A new $800,000 state-of-the-art radiology system and telemedicine-supported behavioral health program for senior citizens highlighted tours of Conemaugh Meyersdale Medical Center on Thursday, following the hospital’s annual public meeting. 

Meyersdale CEO Heather Smith said the radiology lab and Senior Solutions behavioral health program illustrate Conemaugh owner Duke LifePoint Healthcare’s commitment to rural hospitals. 

The hospital’s designation as a critical access hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services helps Meyersdale provide a broad range of primary and secondary health care services and allow patients to avoid trips to larger facilities, Smith said.

“Too often, the public does not recognize all of the services that are here at our hospital,” she said.

“That was one of our goals: To open up the doors, let the public come in, get a feel for the hospital, visit the departments and really learn, maybe, what they are missing out on from a small-hospital, easy-access standpoint.”

During the annual meeting, Smith highlighted some of the hospital’s accomplishments.

With a telemedicine connection to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center experts, Meyersdale has been accredited by the Joint Commission as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. It is also poised to achieve accreditation for laboratory services. 

Another telemedicine initiative is connecting Meyersdale emergency physicians with the trauma surgeons at Memorial in Johnstown. It has improved the turn-around time for patients being stabilized and prepared for transport to Memorial’s Level 1 Trauma Center, Smith said. 

Meyersdale added four new physicians in the past year, including new family-practice specialist Dr. Alexander Kalenak.

The hospital has designed services to provide more health care in the southern Somerset County area, Smith said while leading a tour through the hospital’s outpatient section. 

Conemaugh specialists in podiatry, cardiology, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology hold regular clinics in Meyersdale.

They help patients have procedures at Memorial in Johnstown avoid unnecessary trips before and after their surgery, Smith said. 

“We are working with the service lines,” she said. “You can do all your Conemaugh Memorial pretesting here.”

Most of the hospital’s 20 in-patient beds are now part of a swing-bed program that helps patients transition following major surgery or while recovering from serious illness. 

“They can come here for 8, 10, 12 days to get additional rehab or IV antibiotics so they can go back home instead of a nursing home,” Smith said. 

By capitalizing on Conemaugh’s larger organization, while maintaining an essential core of services in the community, Smith said Meyersdale leaders are committed to ensuring the hospital’s future.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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