In order to better meet the needs of the local population, Geisinger Health System is expanding certain services in Lycoming County.
Last month, surgeons at the Geisinger-Lycoming Clinic in Montoursville began seeing surgical patients.
"The goal is to bring services closer to people in Lycoming County," said Dr. Mohsen Shabahang, director of general surgery.
Shawna Steinruck, seated, and Rachel Powers, a 17-year Geisinger Health System employee, examine files on the computer at the Geisinger-Lycoming check-in desk.
Last month, physicians at the Geisinger-Lycoming Clinic, 780 Broad St. in Montoursville, began seeing patients.
Every two weeks, Drs. Shabahang and Mohanbabu Alaparthi, both general surgeons, will take appointments at the 780 Broad St. clinic.
Shabahang said many people have questions regarding their surgical procedures, and bringing services closer to local patients allows their physicians to better assess their needs.
"It will be possible for us to perform some minor surgical procedures on site, too," he said.
Geisinger's general surgical team provides both routine and complex surgical services.
Shabahang and Alaparthi are involved with surgical oncology, general surgery and complex abdominal wall expertise.
Shabahang wouldn't rule out the possibility of offering more expanded surgical services at some point, "depending on what kind of (patient) volumes we see."
In addition, Shabahang said he could foresee the time when radiological services, including mammography, would be made available at the clinic.
He noted that there exists a large patient population in the area that likely would take advantage of mammography services.
"I have about six to eight (breast care) patients right now," he said.
Of course, any additional health care offering would have to show some return in investments, he added.
"What the future holds ... who knows?" he said.
Many local patients would prefer seeing their surgeons close to home, rather than traveling to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
"There's a lot to be said to do everything here instead of having patients drive back and forth," he said.
Geisinger spokesman Mike Ferlazzo said the health system is looking for ways to expand service in the area.
"This whole process is still kind of in its infancy," he said. "Obviously, the surgeons are assessing the patients they have in that area and their needs."
Ferlazzo noted that Geisinger has a fair number of patients in Lycoming County.
"I think Geisinger-Lycoming is an important part of our system," he added.
Shabahang noted that expanded services will mean stronger Geisinger ties to Lycoming County.
"This is an outreach," he said. "Our goal is to bring specialty care closer to home."