By Timothy Cox
Mercer County Community Hospital will soon have audiologists on its medical staff for the first time.
Hospital officials also are moving forward with prior plans to open a sleep clinic in the hospital, continuing a string of recent service expansions that also include an outpatient clinic, and a partnership with other area hospitals on a stereotactic mammography machine.
Hospital board members this week approved the addition of Dr. Peg Meiring to the hospital's medical staff. Meiring plans to open a full-time practice based at the hospital's Community Medical Center, 950 S. Main St., Celina. When the new audiology office opens around Aug. 1, Meiring also plans to have a partner, Dr. Ellen Hunter. Both are doctors of audiology. They will specialize in the treatment of hearing disorders and hearing testing for adults, children and infants.
"There really aren't any full time audiology services in the county now, said Jim Wermert, vice president of operations at the hospital. "We hear from a lot of our physicians who have to send people out of the county."
Board members also finalized plans to hire an outside firm to run a sleep disorder clinic on the third floor of the hospital. The four-year contract with Columbus-based Sleep Care Inc. calls for the company to supply all staffing and equipment. The new venture will include sleep studies conducted three times per week at the local hospital with a pulmonologist certified in sleep medicine visiting once monthly to review cases. Sleep Care opened in 1995 and operates nine sleep clinics in hospitals across the state. The company has a staff of more than 40, which includes registered poly-somnographic technologists and respiratory therapists.
Hospital officials also learned that Dr. Rick Kesselring, an obstetrician/gynecologist, will be opening a full-time practice at Community Medical Center. Kesselring is expected to begin practicing locally in late July.
Hospital officials have long sought to find another OB/GYN to go into business locally because high professional malpractice insurance costs have pushed local family doctors out of the baby business.