The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 28, 2013

Somerset Hospital undergoes changes

Randy Griffith

SOMERSET — Changes such as a beefed up heart program, new state-of-the-art wound center, new community wellness offering and a new chief executive officer are helping Somerset Hospital remain what it has always been: A community hospital with quality medical care.

“What we are trying to concentrate on here is staying an independent community hospital in today’s changing environment,” said Ron Park, who took over Jan. 1 as president and chief executive officer.

The new role is in familiar territory for Park, who spent the last 15 years as chief financial officer at Somerset.

But Park knows he can’t do it alone. One of his first orders of business after taking the helm was to begin meeting with groups of employees to gather input and brainstorm ideas.

“Our employees have a critical role in what we are doing,” Park said. “We are trying to go forward in a way of engaging the employees more than we have in the past.”

The employees include about 30 physicians whose partnership is vital for success, he added.

In fact, Park lists physician recruitment as one of Somerset’s biggest challenges moving into the future. Right now the hospital is on the hunt for a third oral surgeon and more family practice doctors. An orthopedic surgeon will be starting this summer.

A four-bed expansion to the In-Touch Hospice house at 1474 N. Center Ave. and a new family practice center in Berlin helped bring more service into the communities last year, Parks noted.

Hospital leadership is wrapping up a facilities plan that will identify future needs, including new facilities, Parks said.

Former hospital President Mike Farrell continues to work with Somerset, leading fundraising efforts for continued growth.

Financially, the hospital reported a 2 percent positive margin. Total employment remains at around 850 workers.

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