Last updated: May 16. 2013 11:53AM - 2563 Views

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The Susquehanna County community has seen its share of change over the years. Recently, there has been a burst of activity related to the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom. The influx of people, industry and attention that we’ve experienced over the past several years has been a bit of a shock to members of our community, and people have honest disagreements over the effect of the shale boom on our region. One thing for certain, though, is that it has benefited this region’s health care.

Thanks to support from community members, federal, state and local government and friends in the private sector such as Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., we are in the process of a major institutional build-out at Endless Mountain Health System in Montrose that will change the face of healthcare in Susquehanna County for years, even decades, to come.

Local residents have long turned to EMHS for everything from routine preventative care to critical emergency help. Our small and very committed team of medical professionals has consistently worked hard, providing the kind of compassionate care that one might expect from a small hospital in a rural community where we treat each other as family. Now imagine the same family of hard-working doctors, nurses and medical staff located in a brand new facility with state-of-the-art resources at their fingertips, able to extend the same brand of neighborly care backed by some of the best technology available today.

It’s not a dream: it’s soon to be the reality of the new EMHS. Thanks to the financial resources we’ve been able to access over the past few years, we are in the process of building a facility that’s nearly twice as large – going from 48,000 to 96,000 square feet. Where there were once 17 exam rooms, there will be 27. Twenty-one licensed beds will grow to twenty-five. Two emergency bays will become six.

There’s more. A mobile mammography unit currently located in a trailer outside the hospital will now enjoy permanent space inside the hospital. We’ll also see enhanced patient privacy and better facilities for the handicapped. We’ll miss our old hospital. Working with our present outdated facility has bred a lot of creative improvising through the years and brought us close together – sometimes too close, some of my colleagues might rightly point out.

We’ve taken our mission seriously, well aware as we are that without us, local patients would be forced to leave the community and travel anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to receive the same treatment. With a new, state-of-the-art critical access hospital, we’ll be able to attract more physicians and provide more services to our community.

But most important, that fundamental compassion for our patients, the kind you get at a small community hospital, will still be there.

We’re excited about the changes going on in our community and throughout our region because we know that, from a health care perspective, Susquehanna County residents will be better served than ever before.

Dr. Joseph Speicher is President of the Medical Staff at Endless Mountains Health System in Montrose.

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