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Marietta Memorial branching out

March 4, 2011

MARIETTA - The Marietta Memorial Health System, which includes Marietta Memorial Hospital and Selby General Hospital, is continuing to expand its facilities and services.

The integration of the hospitals, begun in 2008, has been completed and the joint system is continuing to find ways to serve the local community, said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations.

During summer of 2010, the hospital system completed plans to transfer all of its orthapedic joint replacement services to Selby, including surgical services, orthapedic physician care and others.

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Marietta Memorial Hospital saw significant growth in 2010.

"What's exciting news for us at Selby is that in October we were named in the top 15 percent in the nation in terms of joint replacement surgery," she said. "When you consider there are 5,000 hospitals in the United States, that's a pretty big honor. We're sixth in the state of Ohio and what's fantastic about that is it shows you don't have to leave this community to get excellent orthopedic joint replacement surgery."

The Memorial System also continued to focus on efforts to expand services to southern Washington County in Belpre. The Strecker Cancer Center has been offering services at the Health Bridge complex on Farson Street this year and construction is expected to begin soon on a new 50,000-square-foot facility for MMH at the site, with completion scheduled for November.

The two-story expansion to the medical plaza will house urgent care facilities, an expansion of the current Strecker Cancer Center office in Belpre and physicians' offices, Offenberger said.

The new year will see the hospital system continuing to improve the depth of services available with the addition of several new physicians this year, including neurosurgery, cardiology, oncology and others, Offenberger said.

The past year saw Memorial's emergency department start a new physician triage program. During the busiest times of the day, the first person people coming to the emergency room meet is a physician who will triage them and begin the treatment process. Memorial also received confirmation at the end of 2009 that the hospital had been designated as a Level III trauma center, meaning it has the resources and personnel available to offer some trauma services which in the past would have required transportation to another facility.

"It's been going very well for us," Offenberger said of the programs as they concluded their first year.

In 2010, Memorial began working on a new program calling "Signature Care Services." The goal of the program is to create a more cohesive collaboration among the providers of services in certain areas to improve the speed and quality of service to patients in those areas, Offenberger said.

The "Signature" program started with spine services last year. A patient with a back problem will have the case shared among a team of specialists able to create a treatment plan best suited to address their issues and get started. Offenberger said the hospital wants to expand the idea to other areas, including lungs, prostrate and breast health this year.

"It's all about ensuring that during those critical times, people get access to and treatment for their health care needs as quickly as possible and that they have the benefit of experts in a variety of fields to make those decisions with them," she said.

At the start of this year, Offenberger said a new critical care nursing unit opened at MMH in January and is expected to expand within the coming months. The new $1.5 million, fourth-floor unit is being added to help with the times when the hospital is at full capacity.

"We continue to see an increase in the number of people staying locally for their health care, and we continue to be at capacity with the rooms we have," she said. "As residents are growing more elderly and may need more services, we recognize we're going to continue to see an increase in volume, and we know we need more room."

There are currently cases where patients must wait in the emergency room or other parts of the hospital for a room to become available, Offenberger said.

"They're still getting great care there, but we would like to get them in their room more quickly," she said.

Ten new staff members have been hired for the unit. The unit opened with seven beds but will eventually expand to 22, she said.



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