Primary Care Update

image On October 12, 2020, The ACMH Rural Valley Primary Care Center, which is located at 10261 State Route 85 in Cowanshannock Township, will begin operating Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Laboratory services at the location will operate on the same days from 8:00 AM to 12 Noon.  Dr. Michael P. Ondich has served as the physician provider for the practice since the center opened in 2010, and will remain with the practice.

In addition to seeing patients at the Rural Valley location, Dr. Michael P. Ondich will begin seeing patients at the Elderton Primary Care Center beginning in September. The center is located at 116 North Main Street in Elderton. Dr. Ondich joins Dr. Joseph Cippel and Nurse Practitioner Lindsey Stewart at the location.

ACMH congratulates Physician Assistant Mary Kay Palilla of the Rural Valley Primary Care Center on her planned upcoming retirement in October of 2020. Mary Kay has served at the practice since 2010. Along with a grateful community, ACMH recognizes the invaluable contributions that Mary Kay has made to the communities in and around the Rural Valley area. Mary Kay will be seeing patients at the Rural Valley Primary Care Center through September 30, 2020.

Nurse Practitioner Chris Baker will be joining the Rural Valley Primary Care Center practice on a limited basis beginning September 16th. Chris is a graduate of Duquesne University with a Masters in Science Degree specializing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. He previously graduated from Waynesburgh University and the UPMC Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. Chris Baker is currently seeing patients at the Kittanning Primary Care Center location in downtown Kittanning, and will continue to see patients at that location
“The challenge we face is balancing the physician support component with the resources available,” stated John Lewis. “With the retirement of Physician Assistant Mary Kay Palilla, we needed to review, address and evaluate next steps, and available options” said John Lewis.
John Lewis, ACMH Hospital President and CEO, met with local and state representatives to discuss considerations under review and continuation of the practice.

“I recently met with Senator Joe Pittman (41st Senatorial District) and State Representative Donna Oberlander (63rd Legislative District) and also had discussed with Armstrong County Commissioners the future of our Primary Care Center location in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania,” stated John Lewis. “Our goal was to try and ensure that residents within the area maintain access to primary care.”

Senator Joe Pittman released a statement concerning the practice. “I applaud ACMH for their continued commitment to providing health care services to eastern Armstrong County.  Access to health care in rural communities is essential and I sincerely hope this renewed commitment is maintained in the years ahead.   I am eager to be part of ACMH’s efforts to maintain access to primary health care for the residents of Armstrong County.”

State Representative Donna Oberlander commented on the decision. “The continuation of services in Rural Valley is welcome news to residents in northeastern Armstrong County,” Oberlander said. “Access to health care, especially in rural areas like ours, is an important part of ensuring better health outcomes for our communities. Patients do better when they don’t have to travel far from home. I want to thank ACMH officials and those who have worked behind the scenes to ensure that the Rural Valley practice can remain open.”

Dr. James Backtrom, ACMH Hospital Chief Medical Officer, remarked about the benefits of combining resources at our Rural Health Centers.

“With this combining of resources at both our Rural Valley and Elderton locations, patients have access to comprehensive care with a larger team of experienced healthcare professionals, all working together for the health and wellbeing of the community,” stated Dr. James Backstrom. “In addition to comprehensive family medicine, the Elderton center includes pediatric care and on-site lab draw services along with an array of imaging capabilities.”

ACMH Hospital remains committed to community care throughout the Armstrong County region.  In addition to the Rural Valley and Elderton locations, patients throughout the area have access to multiple other ACMH Primary Care Center locations in the region. These include the South Bethlehem Primary Care Center, located in South Bethlehem, and two locations in Kittanning, The Kittanning Primary Care Center and the West Hills Primary Care Center.

Dr. Ondich and Dr. Cippel are both welcoming new patients to the practices. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please contact the Elderton office at 724-354-5258, or Rural Valley at 724-783-7124.

When it comes to your health, you deserve convenience and quality. Same-day appointments are currently available at both Elderton and Rural Valley Primary Care Centers.