GCMC meets community needs while cherishing its independence

ContributedThis past year, Grove City Medical Center was the first and only hospital or imaging facility to offer iCAD PowerLook Tomo Detection. It uses artificial intelligence to preview breast images, improving radiologists’ efficiency and reducing patients’ stress.

PINE TOWNSHIP – Grove City Medical Center turned 40 years old in 2018, and the year-long celebration gave pause to reflection on the past four decades of the hospital providing care to the people of our community.

Last year marked another meaningful, but little known anniversary. In 1993, the board decided to break away from corporate management and go it alone. So, for the past 25 years, Grove City Medical Center has managed to stay independent as a small, rural community-based hospital – the only one in Mercer County.

Talk about defying the odds.

Grove City Medical Center is a 67-bed hospital that provides care mainly for those who live within a 10-mile radius of the facility, about 55,000, not counting the students at nearby Grove City College, Slippery Rock University and George Jr. Republic.

Among the hospital’s most noteworthy features is its location – it is the closest hospital to the intersection of interstates and 79 and 80. Not surprisingly, Grove City Medical Center’s emergency department sees its fair share of motor vehicle accident victims. Since Grove City is home to the largest outlet mall in the region, shoppers sometimes find themselves making an unplanned stop at the emergency department, too.

Grove City Medical Center is governed by a nine-member community board of directors and operates a multi-specialty physician group as well as a foundation.

Setting the pace in breast imaging is nothing new to Grove City Medical Center, which has always invested in leading edge technology for women’s health.

This past year, GCMC was the first and only hospital or imaging facility in the area to offer iCAD PowerLook Tomo Detection as part of its arsenal of breast imaging technology. iCAD uses artificial intelligence to preview breast images, which improves the radiologists’ efficiency. Since PowerLook can detect more than 90 percent of irregularities in the breast, it greatly reduces the need for repeat mammograms for women.

“This is a very big deal,” said Jamey Botts, lead mammography technologist. “As a patient, getting a message that there is something we need to recheck on your mammogram can be very alarming, and now we’re doing that less and less frequently thanks to PowerLook’s sensitivity and accuracy.”

Trauma coordinator Cheryl Pebbles, RN, will tell you “that it takes a village.” But, ultimately it is the remarkable team of emergency doctors, nurses and support staff who lead the charge.

In 2014, Grove City Medical Center earned accreditation as a Level IV Trauma Center – only the second hospital in Pennsylvania to do so at the time. And, last October, the hospital received a two-year accreditation renewal from the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, thanks to the hard work of those who care for the 17,000-plus sick and injured patients who come through the doors of the emergency department each year in need of their help. They are, quite simply, everyday heroes, to our hospital and our community.

Grove City Medical Center has 386 employees –160 physicians on staff. GCMC also employs three physicians part-time (pathology, wound care and pain management.)

GCMC’s $50 million budget generates ripple-effect spending in the local economy of $75 million.

In fiscal year 2018, GCMC cared for 103,394 patients: 1,412 admissions, 84,519 outpatients and 17,463 emergency department visits – the highest annual total in the hospital’s history.