In western Lancaster County, at the crossing to the beautiful Susquehanna River, the historic Borough of Columbia shares a unique heritage dating back to 1726 when the first Europeans settled the area. In recent years, Lancaster General Health has served as a proud provider of healthcare services to the borough’s residents and as a partner in the community’s continued development and growth.
According to Columbia Borough Mayor Leo S. Lutz, LG Health has been a great partner in the Community Life Network (CLN) of Columbia. CLN brings together a diverse group (government agencies, social and medical service providers, not–for–profit organizations, businesses, churches and more) to provide a coordinated response to the social needs of the community.
“LG Health worked with us hand-in-hand to help ensure the Network’s success from the beginning,” said Mayor Lutz. In addition to providing rent assistance for the Network’s offices, LG Health offers the guidance and expertise of Alice Yoder, RN, MSN, director of Community Health, who volunteers as a Community Life Network board member.
Community partners who provide services at the CLN Center include: Alcoholics Anonymous; Career Link Access Point; Columbia Ministerium; Compass Mark; Department of Veterans Affairs, Lancaster County; Hope Within; Love, Inc.; Pressley Ridge; Red Rose Transit Authority and Tabor Community Services.
Mike Fitzgibbons, President and CEO of Susquehanna Valley Emergency Medical Services (SVEMS), welcomes the many ways LG Health enhanced medical services. SVEMS was one of two community organizations to which LG Health recently donated land for permanent homes.
“We are extremely grateful,” said Fitzgibbons. “This significant gesture shows the health system’s willingness to continue investing in the Columbia community and all those we serve.” Located at 610 Poplar St., SVEMS provides emergency and non-emergency medical assistance and transportation for 33 Lancaster County municipalities.
Also enjoying a permanent home in the borough, The Lazarus Foundation strives to improve the quality of life for children with traumatic brain injuries and their families.
About five years ago, Gerald Nikolaus, Lazarus Foundation President and Executive Director, connected with LG Health President & CEO Thomas Beeman and Jan Bergen, LG Health’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Implementation and Chief Mission Officer. Through their leadership, LG Health donated nearly one acre of land and a building, formerly occupied by Columbia Health Center’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, to the Lazarus Foundation.
“Lancaster General Health worked with The Lazarus Foundation for many months to help us find a permanent location in Columbia for our services,” said Nikolaus. “We are incredibly fortunate to benefit from Jan (Bergen’s) extensive experience in healthcare and her acute understanding of our intense focus on our mission.”
For Nikolaus, the motivation for The Lazarus Foundation resulted from a personal tragedy in 1998 when his own grandson, 3-year-old Kristopher, suffered severe brain damage after falling from a tricycle.
At the time, pediatric trauma specialists held little hope for Kristopher’s recovery. If he survived, they predicted he would remain in a persistent vegetative state. But Kristopher had other plans. Today he is a thriving, 14-year-old, who continues to improve one day at a time. His will to live planted the seed for the non-profit Columbia-based Lazarus Foundation his grateful grandfather established in 1999.
The foundation grew and thrived. However, lacking a permanent home, children received therapy training in borrowed spaces. Now that it has a permanent home, The Lazarus Foundation is proceeding with plans to convert the building into a modern therapy center for families who are learning to apply specialized therapy services in their children’s daily lives. Families across Pennsylvania and the United States travel to Columbia to access the Foundation’s therapy training seminars.
In fulfilling its Vision for the Columbia Outpatient Center by completing a $1.5 million improvement project in 2009, LG Health took care to preserve the sense of tradition and rich history that formed the strong bond residents of the borough still share today.
Home to the former Columbia Hospital the health system purchased in 1994, the building was re-commissioned as an outpatient facility in 2003. Specifically designed for outpatient services, the renovated facility features warm colors and an open, welcoming design. Columbia’s historic landmarks are featured in a walllength photo exhibit near the center’s lobby.
Patients will find state-of-the art technology and services including: Twin Rose Family Practice, LG Health’s primary care practice; laboratory with EKG and holter monitor testing; specialty physician services including: OB/GYN; orthopedic surgery and podiatry; radiology/diagnostic imaging; and a new therapy gym where patients receive physical and occupational therapy.
LG Health partners with individuals and community leaders in government, business, local organizations, churches, schools, and other healthcare providers in Columbia to offer comprehensive services that address the emotional, mental and physical aspects of both wellness and illness. These services are accessible to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
Some of the community health services Lancaster General Health Columbia Outpatient Center provides with its partners include:
Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) directs assistance with filling out the application for children and teens not eligible for insurance or enrolled in Medical Assistance.
Healthy Beginnings Plus comprehensive prenatal care program for pregnant uninsured or underinsured low-income women who meet Medicaid guidelines.
ChildProtect Program ensures that children and adolescents ages 18 and younger are immunized in a complete and timely fashion, regardless of ability to pay.
Shaping Up with the Silver Health Program, a low-cost medically directed exercise program for adults age 60 and older, designed by Columbia Health Center physical therapist Casey Dixon, MBA, DPT.
Community health services provided outside LG Health Columbia Outpatient Center include:
“Home” Lab Draw Services for residents at local personal care/assisted living/ retirement communities.
Safety in our Schools promotes a safe working environment for Columbia School District employees coordinated by Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Supervisor Aaron Mackley, PT, DPT, and the School District’s Safety Committee.