Neurosurgeon Bryan Bolinger comes to Lewistown

From staff reports

LEWISTOWN – Neurosurgeon Bryan Bolinger has joined Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital, according to a release issued by hospital officials.

According to the release, this is the first time neurosurgery will be available in the hospital, allowing patients to remain close to home when undergoing surgical treatment for problems affecting the brain, spine and peripheral nerves. Follow-up care will now be available in Lewistown as well.

Bolinger specializes in treating patients with degenerative and traumatic spinal conditions using minimally-invasive and traditional open surgical techniques. He also performs neurosurgery for brain trauma, tumors, hydrocephalus and peripheral nerves.

“With a highly-trained neurosurgeon on staff at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital, we are now capable of caring for specialized neurosurgical needs such as head injuries as well as brain and spine tumors,” said Chief Medical Officer Michael Hegstrom. “It’s comforting knowing that members of our community can remain close to home for complex medical care and treatment.”

Bolinger is a 2007 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, where he also completed a neurological surgery residency in 2013. He then completed a complex spine fellowship in June at the University of Pittsburgh.

Bolinger’s research has been published in four academic publications. During his education and training, he received seven awards, including the Young Scientists Award in 2009 from the National Society for Neurotrauma and the Most Outstanding Resident Award in 2013.

In addition to Bolinger, Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital also has added a chief medical officer, two cardiologists and an OB-GYN to its staff since Lewistown Hospital merged with Geisinger last fall.

The merger did lead to job loss for two people, hospital administrators said. One of those losses was a result of a difference in requirements between the two entities: Geisinger required that particular position to be held by someone with a clinical degree, such as a registered nurse or practitioner, and the person employed by Lewistown Hospital did not meet that requirement.

The second incidence of job loss occurred because Lewistown Hospital utilized resources from other area medical facilities if they weren’t available locally. After the merger, Geisinger started meeting those needs, so the position in question was a duplication of efforts.

In both cases, the positions were eliminated entirely.

“Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital always evaluates positions based on patient volume and the specific requirements of the job,” said Kay Hamilton, the hospital’s chief administrative officer. “Our goal is to continually look for ways to improve efficiencies and add value to the work we do.”

The merger took effect on Nov. 15, marked by a ceremony that included Glenn Steele, Geisinger’s current president and chief executive officer. The board of directors is in the process of finding a replacement for Steele, who will serve in his current role until June, according to a release from the company. He will become the chairman of xG Health Solutions, a venture based in Maryland intended to help health care organizations across the country create value and improve quality.

Health and Business Editor Kim Hayes contributed to this report.