GCMC closing women’s clinic, halting surgeries

The Women’s Health Clinic at the Greene County Medical Center will be eliminated at the end of February due to limited patient volume, the medical center officially announced Monday in a news release that called the financial challenges associated with the pandemic “significant.”

At the same time, however, the medical center will temporarily cut off one of its own revenue streams by suspending surgeries from Dec. 19 through Jan. 17 in anticipation of a potential surge of COVID-19 patients during and after the holidays.

“Although temporarily suspending surgeries further affects financials,” the release stated, “it is the right thing for medical center team members and the community as COVID-19 community spread continues.”

The hospital has experienced staff shortages of its own in recent weeks due to illness from COVID-19 and vacant positions.

“It has been a long, hard year and our team members are tired,” CEO Tracy Warner said this week in a statement. “We believe by temporarily suspending surgery we can redeploy surgical team members to help in other areas of the hospital.”

The medical center will run a full surgery schedule through Dec. 18, with elective general surgery, along with orthopedics, podiatry and cataract procedures, expected to resume Jan. 18 as the pandemic allows.

There also will be changes in respiratory therapy as the medical center expands the service from five days a week to daily.

Women’s health services will continue to be available through providers at the Greene County Family Medicine Clinic.

Women’s Health Clinic provider Valerie Martin, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, won’t be moving to the family medicine clinic, according to Sydney Kruse Bishop, medical center marketing specialist.

The hospital is working with Martin “to explore other options at the medical center,” Bishop said.

Martin initially joined the medical center in 2008 as an obstetrical nurse. Following the departure of Dr. David Jaskey, the medical center ended its OB service line — citing a lack of babies after 79 years — in 2016.

Monday’s announcement called the changes “the initial steps to right size Greene County Medical Center so that health care services can be available locally in the future.”

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