CCMH, UPMC Hamot Partner to Improve Port Allegany Community Health Center

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and UPMC Hamot, who have joined forces to expand and extensively renovate the Port Allegany Community Health Center at 45 Pine St., Port Allegany, held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday that included board members, community leaders, providers and staff, marking the beginning of the project which has been two years in the making.

Following a welcome by Ed Pitchford, CCMH president and chief executive officer, comments were made by the Rev. Randall Headley, pastor, Port Allegany United Methodist Church and vice chairman, CCMH board of directors; Dr. Jason Tronetti, Port Allegany Community Health Center and CCMH board member; Ron Caskey, CCMH board member; Rep. Martin Causer; and Gary Maras, senior vice president of business development, UPMC Hamot. Others participating in the ceremony included Dr. Marlene Wust-Smith, Dr. Michael Tarbox, Becky Seefeldt, CRNP, and Julie Baker, PA-C.

The $2.2 million project will last approximately nine months and will not interrupt daily operations at the health center. The project will add 4,584 square feet and renovate 7,901 square feet to the current space.

“Investing in our communities through projects like this is essential to the mission of our hospital. We believe it is our responsibility to provide excellent healthcare services responding to the changing needs of the communities we serve. We are pleased to be able to improve this community asset as modern and relevant in an era when there is so much emphasis on keeping people well and out of hospitals. This project demonstrates our long term commitment to the health and well being of McKean County residents and to this community for years to come,” Pitchford said.

The Port Allegany Community Health Center provides family and pediatric primary care services, laboratory, radiology and physical therapy and occupational therapy services, and a wellness center. In addition, the facility is occupied by Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Services, Inc and the Asbestos Screening program.

Upon completion, the center will include a total of 22 exam and treatment rooms. Primary care providers at the health center currently see 14,000 patients annually. This project is expected to allow for an increase of more than 4,000 visits per year. Specialists will increase patient visits by an additional 5,000.

The healthcare facility will offer expanded primary care and specialty services including diagnostic testing, behavioral counseling and telemedicine, in an updated patient-centered environment. The center also will include various specialty clinics including podiatric services by Dr. Michael Tarbox, chiropractic care by Dr. Michael Kavounas, and women’s health services by Dr. Celso Backes and Dr. Max Laurore.

“I am excited about the new expansion project for the Port facility. CCMH and UPMC Hamot have made it possible to expand our ability to provide more patient care to the community. We have been limited in space and have not been able to fulfill the needs of the community and with the new facility we will be able to offer more care to more people,” Dr. Tronetti said.

CCMH has operated the facility for more than 25 years and while improvements have been made during that time, the most recent project was over a decade ago. Increased demand and limited space for primary care, specialists and ancillary services have created the need for this project.

“When I was hired as the pediatrician at the Port Allegany Health Center almost 5 years ago, I was amazed at how much this community values its providers. We have been working hard at making this a true patient-centered medical home and I believe that we have succeeded. The improvements that will be made to the health center will help us to provide the very best care to even more patients,” Dr. Wust-Smith said.

“The expansion and renovation of the Port Allegany Community Health Center reflects the growing relationship between two quality health care institutions,” Maras said. “UPMC Hamot and Charles Cole Memorial Hospital are committed to improving access to the highest quality healthcare and services provided to patients in this region.”

In March 2010, CCMH and UPMC Hamot entered into a clinical affiliation agreement through which the two health systems collaborate to improve the access and quality of health services to the residents of the area.

About Charles Cole Memorial Hospital

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital is a full service, comprehensive health system based in Coudersport with service throughout north central Pennsylvania. In addition to the hospital’s main campus in Coudersport, CCMH provides primary health care, including wellness and physical therapy, to surrounding communities in four counties at rural health centers in Galeton, Ulysses, Westfield, Shinglehouse, Port Allegany, Eldred, Smethport, and Emporium. For additional information on the hospital’s services and medical providers, visitwww.charlescolehospital.com.

About UPMC Hamot

UPMC Hamot is a 412-bed, tertiary care facility, located in Erie. UPMC Hamot has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report- America’s Best Hospitals, Top 50 for Pulmonary Medicine, Most Wired, and Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals for overall performance, as well as Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals for outstanding outcomes in heart care, neurological services, urology, orthopaedics, gerontology and critical care medicine. UPMC and Hamot affiliated on February 1. For more information, visitwww.UPMCHamot.com.