For many area residents, Thursday's grand opening of WCA Hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat Center is just what the doctor ordered - less waiting for appointments and fewer trips to Erie or Buffalo.
Physician Recruitment in Chautauqua County: Challenges And Opportunities, a 2009 study by the Chautauqua County Health Network, reported there were three ear, nose and throat providers in Chautauqua County, about three providers fewer than the national average per 100,000 people. The county was about 1.6 providers short of at least meeting the targeted minimum per 100,000 people.
"As part of the assessment local physicians were surveyed and identified endocrinology, ENT, rheumatology and neurology as additional needs within the county. Current referral patterns indicate many patients are referred elsewhere due to these shortages," the study states.
WCA'S Ear, Nose and Throat Center is one check mark on the area's health care to-do list. The new center provides otolaryngology specialty services including diagnostic hearing evaluations with a team of board-certified physicians and medical professionals who provide diagnosis, treatment and surgical services. The team includes Dr. Sean Carroll, a board-certified otolaryngologist; Sidney P. Lipman; Rick Fornelli; and Ruthann Lipman; who have a long tradition of providing otolaryngology care and service in the region.
The new Emergency Department is the biggest change to hit WCA Hospital in recent years, but the hospital, area physicians and groups like the Chautauqua County Health Network and Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission's Health Care Action Team are working together to lead a shift in health care in our part of the county.
Opening the new ENT clinic is just the latest way in which the hospital is making additional offerings available to the community.