Medina seeks to recruit Lakeside physicians

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Jim Sinner, the CEO of Medina Memorial Hospital, said he isn’t trying to “scavenge” Lakeside Health System, which is in process of drastically reducing its inpatient hospital beds from 61 to five. The Brockport hospital also was going to close its emergency room, but now intends to keep that open.

The shrinking hospital in western Monroe County creates opportunities for Medina Memorial, Sinner told Orleans County legislators on March 27. Many Albion and eastern Orleans residents are connected with Lakeside physicians and that hospital. With the changes at Lakeside, Sinner said more Orleans residents may choose Medina and their physicians rather than go into Rochester for health care.

Sinner has approached six Lakeside physicians about aligning with Medina. Sinner told county legislators the doctors are interested in joining Medina, which falls under the Orleans Community Health umbrella.

The Lakeside down-sizing comes soon after Orleans Community Health opened a new 7,500-square-foot health care facility in Albion at the corner of Route 31 and Butts Road. The site offers primary and urgent care. About 50 percent of the traffic to the site since November has been walk-ins. The center is open six days a week and could add evening and Sunday hours if there is a demand, Brian Banas, chief operating officer for OCH, told legislators.

Banas and Sinner said Orleans County is considered a “physician shortage area.” Many of the local medical practices are at capacity, they said.

“We don’t have enough docs in the community,” Sinner said.

Orleans Community Health hired two doctors to work at the Albion site. Dr. Sandra Boehlert focuses on internal medicine while Dr. Jamal Janania Sr. specializes in family medicine.

Sinner is trying to convince specialists to provide services in Orleans, even if it’s only one or two days a month.

The Albion center, a $1.5 million facility, has eight exam rooms and modern technology. It also offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and lab blood draw services. A $784,000 state grant Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers or HEAL covered half of the construction costs.

Orleans Community Health wants to add X-ray services in the new facility. Sinner and Banas are working on a certificate of need application that must be filed with the state Department of Health.

Sinner is pleased to see OCH expanding in the county. He has led the organization the past 15 years.

“It’s always been our goal to be the healthcare system of choice in Orleans County,” he said.