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Camden Clark Medical Center expands services

The WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center introduced the daVinci Robotic surgery technology in November 2020 for robotic-assisted and laparoscopic, minimally invasive procedures and added new surgeon Dr. Shawna Grimm as other surgeons at the center are trained in using robotics. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — As they have continually dealt with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the WVU Camden Clark Medical Center has also made a number of advances and improvements to medical care locally over the last year.

Throughout the pandemic, Camden Clark continued to focus on all of its operations to improve care and service across the board as well as bringing in new physicians and new local healthcare personnel, President and CEO Steve Altmiller said.

“There is quite a few things we accomplished this past year, despite COVID,” he said. “Great organizations don’t forget why they are in business.

“We are in business for all of the community’s healthcare needs and we are still nimble enough to handle COVID.”

The medical center added new Chief Medical Officer Dr. Walter Kerschl over the past year.

TrueBeam is a new advanced radiation therapy system being used at the WVU Cancer Institute at the WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center. The system delivers concentrated beams of radiation to tumors in the body. It allows pinpoint positioning and can target the tumor from different angles. (Photo Provided)

Kerschl said as he went through the interview process before being hired, he really saw how much people at the hospital cared about taking care of the health needs of the community.

“This community is so passionate about taking care of each other,” he said. “Our medical and nursing staff are leaders.

“I think our people are the key to our success in what we have done.”

CCMC expanded Tele-Health services where people could still be in contact with healthcare providers to take care of their immediate healthcare needs over the telephone, FaceTime, My Chart and other means during the pandemic.

“We were agile enough to get Tele-Health up almost overnight,” Kerschl said. “Our hospital has been able to accomplish a lot virtually.

“I was proud to be a part of that team during that time.”

Over the last year, the medical center has experienced growth, innovation and been commended for excellence in patient care.

“Through all of the pandemic, we still focused on day-to-day operations, focused on program improvements,” Altmiller said. “We had several areas we were able to make improvements.”

WVU Medicine has expanded services from Wetzel to Jackson counties to provide more convenient and integrated patient care close to home.

Camden Clark and Parkersburg Cardiology Associates were recognized nationally by the American College of Cardiology, HealthGrades, U.S. News and World Report and Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue for excellence in treatment of heart failure and heart attacks.

Dr. David Gnegy, president of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and vice president of medical affairs for Camden Clark, said the cardiovascular surgery programs have continued to grow during the pandemic.

“The importance of that is our patients and their families are able to stay local for complex cardiac care,” he said.

CCMC’s Women’s and Children’s unit was recognized for excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield with its Blue Distinction in Maternity Care.

“We are being recognized at the highest level,” Altmiller said. “We were also successful in recruiting new physicians.”

The orthopedic team was recognized nationally for knee replacement surgery by HealthGrades and added nationally renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dean Harter who specializes in shoulder to continue building on the expertise of that team to meet the growing needs of the local patient base, said MarJean Kennedy, Vice President of Marketing Business Development.

Camden Clark was able to expand its pulmonology practice with the addition of interventional pulmonologist Dr. Roshen Mathew.

The medical center has expanded its pain management practice with Dr. Galal Garghodi and Donna Davis, DO.

“We have been able to reinvigorate the whole area around pain management,” Altmiller said.

The WVU Cancer Institute at Camden Clark expanded the number of physicians and technology with two new radiation and medical oncologists, Medical Oncologist Dr. Katy Ticona and Radiation Oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Ryckman.

They have also added the TrueBeam linear accelerator, Senographe Pristina 3-D mammography and increased access to more new clinical trials through WVU Medicine.

TrueBeam is an advanced radiation therapy system that delivers concentrated beams of radiation to tumors in the body. Each TrueBeam treatment consists of a beam of radiation (or collection of beams) generated by a linear accelerator from inside the TrueBeam system, officials said, adding it allows pinpoint positioning and can target the tumor from different angles.

“We will be putting in the highest level of technology, sophistication and capacity in the treatment of cancer through the use of radiation oncology,” Altmiller said. “It is a level of technology that matches what they have in Morgantown and we are developing that technology concurrently with the people in Morgantown.

“That will benefit the entire Mid-Ohio Valley region.”

The center introduced daVinci Robotic surgery technology in November 2020 for robotic-assisted and laparoscopic, minimally invasive procedures and added new surgeon Dr. Shawna Grimm as other surgeons at the center are trained in using robotics.

“With the daVinci robot we are offering patients more surgical options,” Grimm said.

Grimm can perform cholecystectomies, foregut procedures, colorectal surgery, small bowel procedures, and simple and complex hernia repair with the system.

Camden Clark will be opening a new medical practice in Williamstown this spring, Kerschl said.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Medical Group, which is now part of WVU Medicine Primary Care, now has an office in St. Marys in addition to its offices in Vienna and Belpre.

“We are expanding primary care,” Kerschl said.

Even with the pandemic going on, the Emergency Room was recognized in the top 10 percent in patient satisfaction by Press Ganey survey, he said.

“That has been a testimony to our people and what we were able to do, even during the pandemic,” he said.

CCMC has also increased starting pay for entry level positions to a minimum of $12.50 an hour.

“We will be better off for it,” Altmiller said.

They have also put into place programs to train people internally, working closely with West Virginia University at Parkersburg, for roles that have been hard to fill in terms of patient care techs who help support nurses on the floor and more.

“We have found that to be a very successful program for these people to be able to step into these programs on the floor,” Altmiller said.

Officials said they are continuing with efforts to expand services at Camden Clark.

Altmiller said they will continue to treat COVID as a serious virus, but will also work to make sure the other aspects of local healthcare continue to grow.

“Core services that are important to people’s health, outside of COVID, we will continue to focus on those areas, focus on recruiting primary care and other specialties in the era of COVID,” Altmiller said. “We will continue to bring care locally.”

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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