Director: ‘ER hospital expansion project is on schedule’
MUNCY – With a long list of credentials and a forever smile, Christine Ballard has taken over the management of administering the day-to-day activities of the Muncy Valley Hospital.
Ballard has over 40 years of healthcare experience with 17 years in healthcare administration. She began her career in Elmira, NY at Arnot Ogden Memorial Hospital as a staff nurse and relief charge for cardiac and intensive care and the medical/surgical unit. From there she went to Geisinger working in shock trauma, special care units, pediatrics and intensive care working her way toward nursing education before coming to Susquehanna Health where she started as a clinical practice collaborator for the emergency departments.
In 1996 Ballard started working at Muncy Valley Hospital as director of nursing and patient safety officer. Today she is the Chief Administrative Officer and VP of Operations. This is a position she held at Muncy from 2006 to 2012.
“I wanted to be a nurse since I was five years old,” Ballard said. “I always wanted to take care of and help people.” Her journey has taken her into all aspects of the medical field including five years as vice president of human resources for Susquehanna Health.
Muncy Valley Hospital holds a special place for Ballard because of the time spent here. It feels like a “family atmosphere” to her. She remarked how 10 to 15 staff members volunteered to spend the night and work during the big snowstorm last Tuesday, March 14, to take care of the patients. “We put up same-day empty beds for them and served a complimentary breakfast the next day. The staff here is incredibly dedicated. Even the ER physician came in and spent the night.” The hospital was able to make arrangements in advance due to the “advance weather predictions” according to Ballard.
“I have loved every step of my career.” She commented on the affiliation with UPMC. She sees the merger as a bridge to build more opportunities for Muncy Valley Hospital. “We will be providing more services here for local residents.” Expanding medical services is important. A team of gastroenterologists will soon be added for diagnostic and treatment of GI disorders at Muncy Valley Hospital.
Phase one of the new ED expansion project will be completed by the end of March which includes a new parking lot for staff and visitors, and an entrance with a new canopy for emergency vehicles and the 5,399 sq. foot addition.
The second phase will be completed later in the summer and will include renovation work of the original ER space of 10,938 sq. feet.
The third and final phase is expected to be completed by November of 2017 combined with the renovated ER unit, totaling to more than 16,000 sq. feet for the new emergency department.
A final addition, and a wonderful touch for the patients according to Cyndy Whipple, Director of Nursing, is the alliance with Art Partnership from Philadelphia. “They have allowed us to select local artists,” she said. The Muncy Hospital leadership committee selected art from Lycoming County and the local artisans to display in the new emergency unit expansion facility. “We purchased about 35 photographs from the regional service area,” Whipple said, who also added that many were from Muncy. “We wanted something uplifting, bright and colorful.”
A new ER proper and physician office area will be part of the design. Whipple explained that by April 3rd the hospital will be shifting into this phase. “We will have all new equipment and artwork placed there.” The area used to be the health specialty clinic.
An open house is expected for November/December of this year. The hospital’s auxiliary is busy planning the annual Muncy Lawn Party set for June 17. So far they have raised over $250,000 towards the emergency expansion. Proceeds this year will support a new van.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ronald Reynolds is working on a strategic program plan assigned in Clinton County for UPMC Susquehanna Health. Ballard has agreed to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Muncy Valley Hospital Campus and Susquehanna’s Skilled Nursing Services according to Steven P. Johnson, President and CEO.