Kudos to those who worked to keep pediatric care
In January, Dr. Avery Aten alerted the community to a potential closing of inpatient pediatric care at Alpena Regional Medical Center. This impending action was primarily due to lack of enough willing, qualified physicians to staff the evening/night on-call schedule. A dedicated group of doctors were working to prevent this crisis but could not shoulder the burden without additional help from their peers. ARMC administration was credited with working toward a solution, but prospects seemed bleak. Dr. Aten called for a cooperative community effort to help resolve this situation. We met with him and a group of concerned doctors to learn more about the situation and agreed to try to be a bridge between the community and the hospital. We then met with administration to offer our support and to rally the community, if necessary. The meeting was very productive, followed up by an April progress report session. We appreciate the open, attentive response of Karmon Bjella and Dr. Richard Bates. We are pleased to report there is now an established Pediatric Call Schedule that seems to have resolved the issue, at least for the time being. The community is indebted to six doctors (Licht, Hahn, Nicholson, Conboy, Root, and Panknin) who have taken on this responsibility thus far; hopefully others will join them to assure hospital care for Alpena’s children for years to come. This is a vital service to families who live in Alpena, commute here for care, or may consider relocating to this area. A strong hospital is a backbone of a stable community. Thumbs up to Dr. Aten for bringing this issue forward. Kudos to ARMC Medical Staff, Drs. Hirzelberger, Rivard and Sheikho for their patience, persistence and leadership on behalf of the entire medical community. Alpena has risen to the occasion, again.