While many Valley residents already have access to top-notch rural medical facilities in the region, it never hurts to get a little bit better. Three recent additions to the Valley’s health care footprint will help all of us get access to the treatment we desire.

Over the past week, Evangelical Community Hospital announced an addition to its mobile fleet and UPMC opened a new specialty clinic. It comes on the heels of Geisinger opening a clinic for residents 65 and over.

Each facility or unit represents community outreach and a commitment from these hospital systems to make a difference in the Valley.

The most recent addition is for the Evangelical Regional Mobile Medical Services (ERMMS), which has added a wheelchair/stretcher-enabled van to expand non-emergency transport services. The new vehicle goes into service today and is designed to accommodate patients requiring a wheelchair or stretcher to get to Evangelical.

“At the hospital, we found there were many times where a non-emergency transport was needed by our patients but the access to that type of vital service was limited,” said Myron Bingaman, an Emergency Medical Technician Team lead for the new fleet vehicle. “This van fills that gap and makes it possible for us to better serve our patients and our area in a way that was very much needed.”

Last week, UPMC opened a Specialty Care Clinic in Lewisburg, its third facility to open in Union County this year.

UPMC Specialty Care Lewisburg features a dozen clinicians offering an array of outpatient services including cardiology, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, pain management and urology. The clinic is located at 2330 Saint Mary St. West, once home to the Brookpark Surgery Center.

The three facilities are the most recent additions to UPMC’s local footprint. “We serve a lot of the Lewisburg area, and this will help people with the travel,” said David Lopatofsky, chief medical officer, UPMC in the Susquehanna Region. “It’s our way of reaching out to communities that have already reached out to us.”

These two announcements come on the heels of Geisinger’s opening of its 65 Forward Health Center in Shamokin Dam. The facility, Geisinger’s first in the region with hopes of opening similar spots in Milton and Shamokin over the next year, is marketed as a “one-stop-shop for older patients.” 

Geisinger has limited the number of patients a doctor will see to permit hour-long appointments to offer more personalized and in-depth care.

Each outlet will be a valuable resource to Valley residents and show a dedication and commitment by the medical providers that serve the region.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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