Birth Care to expand in Bart
Plans to add delivery room at current location, move offices to new medical center Birth Care to expand in Bart BY KIMBERLY MARSELAS, Correspondent
A new building is expected to expand health care options for underserved southern end residents when it opens later this year.
Ephrata Community Hospital and Birth Care and Family Health Services are two of several tenants planning to open offices at Community Services of Georgetown, a 16,000-square-foot facility under construction on Georgetown Road (Route 896) in Bart Township. Many of the services will cater to the area's Plain community.
"It's going to make this little intersection here like a mini health campus," said Maren Ketcham, executive administrator for Birth Care. "Right now, the closest family practice we have here isn't until Quarryville. That can be quite a distance away for people traveling by horse-and-buggy."
The new medical center is being constructed across the street from Birth Care and Family Health Services, 1138 Georgetown Road, Bart, near where Route 372 intersects with Route 896.
Among the largest tenants will be Ephrata Community Hospital, which will open a primary care practice on the building's second floor. Headed by Dr. Keith Wright, the practice will be the 19th in the Northern Lancaster County Medical Group.
While the center will not be an urgent care facility, hospital spokeswoman Joanne Eshelman said Wright would provide a continuum of care for patients of all ages and be able to treat minor injuries such as lacerations.
Additional hospital facilities planned for the new medical center include an outpatient imaging and ultrasound center and a new branch of the Ephrata Medical Laboratory. Eshelman expects the hospital to employ about 10 people at the center.
"We have a significant number of Plain community patents who choose Ephrata when they need care," Eshelman said. "This new facility will be a way to better serve our patients, particularly the large number of Amish patients who live in the area."
Ketchum said about 70 percent of Birth Care's patients are Amish, and many do not have a primary care provider. Wright has already started providing six-week follow-up visits for infants, while the center's midwives provide follow-up care for the mothers. The new facility will make that partnership easier, Ketchum said.
Pending health department approval, Birth Care will move its offices to the new building, where patients will schedule pre- and post-natal appointments and gynecological care. The move will allow Birth Care, where midwives delivered a record 511 babies last year, to add a new delivery room at its current location.
Officials said a new, shared location would strengthen an informal bond between the two major providers. Ephrata Community has long cared for Birth Care patients who need to deliver at a hospital, and a member of the hospital's executive management team serves on Birth Care's board of directors.
Wright, who has extensive experience as a rural doctor in Washington state, also will continue to work at Leacock Family Practice in Gordonville. Among other tenants expected to be a part of the medical center are Integrative Health Consultants, which treats Lyme disease patients, a nutritional counselor and a chiropractor.
Heck Construction is constructing the center, which is scheduled to open in early fall. Eshelman said Monday that start-up costs for the hospital's move-in were unavailable.
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