By Rick Dandes

The Daily Item

SHAMOKIN — Geisinger Health System and Shamokin Area Community Hospital announced Friday that they will be exploring new ways their organizations can work together.

Geisinger and SACH already collaborate to provide women's health services in the Shamokin area, and Geisinger operates a multi-specialty clinic located on the SACH campus that includes gynecology, cardiology and sleep medicine.

Shamokin's mayor-elect George Rozinskie welcomed the news and said, "It bodes well for our citizens, to see such a strong organization like Geisinger expand services to the people in the Coal Region."

Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce Director Sandy Winhofer had a similar reaction to the announcement. "For our region," Winhofer said, "it's a great opportunity to bring more services to a potentially growing area."

What new services will be provided has yet to be decided. Both organizations stressed they are in the early stages of exploring possibilities. No timetable has been set regarding determination on joint programs or other potential areas where Shamokin and Geisinger could work together.

But with the signing of the letter of intent, noted Geisinger president and chief executive officer, Glenn Steele Jr., "We are able to involve more people from each organization and investigate the possibilities in greater detail."

Steele's counterpart at SACH, president and chief executive officer Thomas R. Harlow, said the two organizations have many mutual goals. Together, he said, they will now find ways to "engage doctors and other health care professionals to jointly develop services for patients and their family. Our goal is to provide a wide spectrum of medical services so people can access care close to home."

Both organizations are members of the Keystone Health Information Exchange, a program designed to increase the electronic infrastructure and electronic health record system throughout central Pennsylvania.

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