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Excela and Y partner to offer 'one-stop' health services

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 7:36 p.m.

Excela Health will partner with the Ligonier Valley YMCA to offer a one-stop shop for Ligonier residents' health and fitness, slated for opening in mid-2014.

Michael Busch, chief operating officer, said Excela is still in “preliminary talks” with the Y as the two groups “brainstorm a potential partnership” on how to offer the most to Ligonier residents.

“The Y has a strategic plan to expand operations in Ligonier and (Excela and Y officials) are talking about the opportunity that we can share the mission of taking care of people on the same campus,” Busch said.

The YMCA recently purchased two properties adjacent to the Y's property at 110 W. Church St.

In July, the Y purchased the Mattern and the Ilmer estates at a total cost of $440,000, including legal fees, according to Director Ben Wright. The structures on those properties, including the former Dairy Queen building, will be razed. Preliminary plans include a 5,000-square-foot fitness center will be erected next to the Y, to replace the 2,300-square-foot fitness center currently in the Y's basement, Wright said.

Busch said Excela officials are looking at the possibility of renting additional space from the Y to offer primary care physicians, specialists, lab services and therapy services in one place.

This type of one-stop shop for medical needs is part of Excela's strategic plan to “align and link the organization's services to coordinate care” and lower costs for the health system to be passed on to patients, Busch said.

“A doctor can walk down the hall and grab a cardiologist and say, ‘I've got an abnormal EKG. Can you come down and look at it?,” Busch said.

In June 2011, Excela closed Ligonier's Surgi-Center at the former McGinnis Hospital at 221 W. Main St., citing that use of the facility had steadily declined as patients and insurance companies selected other venues for care, such as Excela Health Latrobe Hospital.

Last Wednesday, Busch said Excela “struggled” with the facility because of the cost of its upkeep.

It's been listed for sale with an asking price of $325,000.

Excela operates hospitals in Greensburg, Latrobe and Mt. Pleasant.

In June, it opened Excela Square in Norwin. The center employs 100 people and houses family physicians and specialists as well as facilities for outpatient surgery, blood work, imaging, cardiac rehabilitations and physical therapy.

The system will open similar facilities in Greensburg and Latrobe, in addition to the smaller Ligonier clinic.

Wright said the Y has had informal talks with the borough about changing the zoning of one of the newly purchased properties from residential to commercial. Officials at the Y are also working on the site plan for developing the additional land, Wright said.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or