Patients get preview of new Excela family medicine office in Mt. Pleasant
Excela Health’s “medical mall” approach to providing ambulatory care will see its newest expression Monday when patients begin arriving for appointments at Excela Square at Frick Family Medicine in Mt. Pleasant.
The blended practice incorporates staff from two existing Excela primary care locations that will wrap up operations Friday — Main Street Medical in Mt. Pleasant Borough and Norvelt Family Medicine in Mt. Pleasant Township.
Taking over a first-floor space off the main lobby at Excela Square at Frick, the family medicine practice places its patients in the same building where they can take advantage of diagnostic testing and other specialty care. An advanced lung center, surgical specialists and orthopedics and sports medicine are on the second floor while the third floor houses nuclear medicine, a cardiology practice and cardiac testing.
“It will be nice having everything in one area,” said Cindy Folsom of East Huntingdon, who toured the family medicine office with her husband, Neal, during an open house Wednesday.
“It seems like it’s up to date,” Neal Folsom said after completing the tour. “I think it’s going to be a good improvement for the area.”
The new Mt. Pleasant office will be convenient for the couple, who until now have driven to Norvelt to see their family physician.
More than 150 people completed the tour during the first two hours of Wednesday’s daylong open house.
The practice will include four physicians and a dozen other staff from Main Street Medical; four attending physicians, nine staff and another rotating physician from Norvelt Family Medicine; and six doctors who are part of Excela’s family medicine residency program.
Dr. Rajni Madaan, who saw internal medicine patients at Main Street Medical, will have a separate office on the third floor of Excela Square at Frick.
The combined family medicine office includes three pods, or clusters, of examination rooms, served by a common “backstage” area set aside for physicians, nurses and other staff.
As is the case at other Latrobe, Ligonier and Norwin Excela Square care centers, patients arriving to see their family physician will be sent directly to an examination room.
“From a patient’s perspective, they walk into one room and everybody comes to them,” said Dr. Michael Semelka, one of the physicians making the transition from Norvelt Family Medicine. “From a privacy standpoint, from an infection control standpoint, you’re not going to be in a waiting room with a bunch of sneezing, coughing people.
“This is how we’ve rolled things out at our other new offices, and patients seem to like that.”
The arrangement also benefits the medical staff, who will be able to easily share information and coordinate care.
“Each of us has a team with a nurse, a secretary and a provider,” Semelka said. “Everybody will be in one location, so it’s very easy to see and communicate with each other on a regular basis.”
Resident physicians will benefit from the shared learning experience and the availability of an educational simulation lab on the second floor.
Looking ahead, a gastrointestinal specialty practice is set to move into the main building at Excela Square at Frick from a separate nearby building on Excela’s Mt. Pleasant campus.
“The space that GI is vacating will become pain management sometime this summer,” Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings said. “That was never available at this campus.”
Excela continues to operate a 33-bed hospital and emergency department at Excela Square at Frick, 508 S. Church St., Mt. Pleasant.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer.