A new choice for health care opened its doors this week in McHenry.
Western Maryland Health System cut the ribbon on Advanced Lakeside Medical Care on Sept. 25 and opened for business on October 1st.
The 2,996-square-foot facility is located at 23789 Garrett Highway, and has four urgent care exam rooms, a lab and an X-ray room.
Plans are in place to expand into specialty care beginning with urology this month, and primary care at some point in the future, when a provider has been identified.
Staffing is still being determined at this time.
WMHS President and CEO Barry Ronan welcomed the group to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I want to make sure that folks understand why we’re here,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of questions as to why WMHS is here, and quite honestly, it’s to better serve our Garrett County patients, because it’s going to be more than urgent care. It’s going to be primary care, as well as specialty care. We’re going to be rotating specialists through this facility on a weekly basis.”
In addition to that, Ronan noted the organization’s affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“In fact, in one of our meetings they said, ‘Why aren’t you in Garrett County, because of the number of folks who come from Pittsburgh to vacation in all four seasons who, in fact, are there and could be better served?’ So that was the other reason — being able to provide care for those folks who come from Pittsburgh.”
Among the guests at the ceremony were state Sen. George Edwards, Del. Wendell Beitzel, county Administrator Kevin Null, county Economic Development Director Mike Hough, and county commissioners Paul Edwards, Larry Tichnell and Jim Hinebaugh.
“It’s a great addition for the county,” said Sen. Edwards. “We do have a lot of great medical facilities in this county. It will be a great addition and will provide some other opportunities that people might not have otherwise.”
Beitzel noted that he also wanted to add his voice in welcoming WMHS.
“You know, I grew up not very far from here, and I was born in a house right near the airport,” he said. “They didn’t have a hospital ... I’m going back a few years. Over the years ... I’ve watched the advancement of the medical services being provided to this county. It really is amazing the advancements that have been made in medicine and in care providers. Now we’re also being connected with Pittsburgh and bringing in all this medical expertise.”
Paul Edwards also gave his welcome on behalf of the commissioners.
“The significance of high quality medical care and access to medical care in rural communities is really important,” he said. “Jim and Larry are at the age now where you can’t have too many doctors. So with that, we just welcome you and if we can ever do anything to help you out, just let us know.”
Western Maryland Health System was formed in 1996 to strengthen health-care services in Western Maryland and the surrounding communities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In November 2009, WMHS opened a new state-of-the-art hospital on Willowbrook Road in Cumberland.
The Western Maryland Regional Medical Center has more than 200 beds and offers a comprehensive range of general and specialty services for medical, surgical and obstetrical patients.
In addition to hospital-based services, WMHS has a network of diagnostic centers, urgent care centers, physician practices, a skilled nursing facility, home care and other outpatient specialty services.
WMHS also has addressed the issue of underserved populations by opening community outreach clinics that aim to help at-risk populations make more informed healthcare decisions.
In February 2018, WMHS and UPMC entered into a clinical affiliation to work cooperatively to enhance health-care services for local residents.
“The partnership enables WMHS to build upon its success in providing value-based care and to strengthen its ability to deliver quality care, transform care delivery and reduce the total cost of providing care in the community,” a WHMS spokesman said.
To learn more about Western Maryland Health System, visit www.wmhs.com or social media
Advanced Lakeside Medical Care is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and no appointments are needed.