For the People
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery builds a strong, care-based connection with its surrounding community
by Phil Gianficaro

When the $350 million Einstein Medical Center Montgomery (Einstein Montgomery) opens on September 29, chief operating officer Beth Duffy will experience the satisfaction of knowing she was involved in it even before the first spade of dirt was thrown at ground breaking.

“It’s very exciting to have been in on the planning of the medical center and every step of the way from start to finish,” she says of the 363,000-square-foot facility in East Norriton Township, the first hospital to be built in southeastern Pennsylvania in a decade. “This all started four or five years ago. To have been part of the discussion process, the operational planning process, and to see it come to fruition is a once in a career opportunity. To watch it grow and just about ready to open is very exciting.”

Einstein Montgomery is opening at its new location as part of a strategic partnership with Montgomery Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) in Norristown, which will close the day Einstein Montgomery opens. MHMC’s parent company, Montgomery Healthcare System, merged into the Einstein network in 2011.

So just what prompted the construction of a new medical center? The Einstein Healthcare Network found the need for the new facility when research showed that Central Montgomery County residents were leaving the county to have their health care needs addressed.

“When we looked at general patient statistics, we learned that 60 percent of the residents of the county were either going up north or downtown to Philadelphia,” says Duffy, 52, who joined the Einstein Healthcare Network 28 years ago. “We saw that as not only a unique opportunity, but also a community mission; we wanted to provide that care and those services to the patient population so they wouldn’t have to leave the county.

“We wanted to close what gaps there were in care in this area, and I feel we have.”
Einstein Montgomery will offer general acute hospital care as well as a full range of services not offered in the area. Services include full-range open-heart surgical services that will support a high-end cardiology program that includes catheter labs and electrophysiology, the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues.

The medical center will also offer minimally invasive and robotic surgeries, bariatric surgeries and oncology surgeries. On the women’s health side, Einstein Montgomery will continue the Einstein Healthcare Network’s full-service OB/GYN program, and will introduce a Level IIIB neonatal intensive care unit.

Each of Einstein Montgomery’s 146 all-private rooms were equipped and designed with both the patient and their friends and family in mind. Each room has a 42-inch, flat-panel television, an “infotainment” system with which movies can be purchased, Internet access, and a sofa bed for family or friends to spend the night.

“Three times each day, patients will be asked three questions on their TV screen to ensure the level of care we expect them to receive,” Duffy says. “They’re going to be asked if the staff is being responsive to their needs, if their pain is being controlled, and if their room is clean. They can answer yes or no. If they answer no, a manager will address it immediately. It’s all about making the patient comfortable. It’s very patient centric.”

In addition to the main hospital, Einstein Montgomery will have a 75,000-square-foot medical arts building that will be attached to the hospital, which will be equipped with an ambulatory surgical center with four surgical suites, medical and radiation oncology programs, an antenatal testing unit and space for private physicians.

Beyond the experienced staff and technology, the medical center’s design, with its focus on nature and sunlight, was a priority. The facility includes an atrium through which patients and guests enter, and allows sightlines to the nearby Norristown Farm Park.

Each room includes expansive windows that will allow a tremendous amount of natural light, which aids in the healing process, according to Duffy. However, because light can also be problematic for some patients, each room has blackout shades.
Patients will also be able to control the temperature in their room.

“That’s unique,” Duffy says. “Oftentimes, a patient may feel a complete loss of control when they’re in the hospital. Just a little thing like them being able to control the temperature empowers them. And we won’t have set visiting hours; if patients want family and friends around them, they can have them. It’s all about helping the patient heal.”

Duffy has witnessed a hospital growing from nothing into something special many years ago. As a high school student at William Tennent in Warminster, she watched with amazement and great interest as the former Warminster Hospital was built.

“I remember going there after school was over and watching the work being done,” Duffy says. “I even worked there as a volunteer while I was in high school. That experience of watching the hospital being built and then volunteering there absolutely confirmed to me at an early age that I wanted to do something in health care. I went to the University of Pittsburgh to be a physical therapist. But like so many freshmen, I didn’t do so well at chemistry. So I took a different health care career path.”

Duffy realized she enjoyed working with people and problem solving, so she went into social work.

“I didn’t think about becoming a hospital administrator until I finished my B.A. program. Then I earned a master’s degree in health administration because I wanted to not only work in a hospital, but run the hospital.”

And last month, her dream came true when she was appointed COO of Einstein Montgomery.

“One of the things I’ve done over the last year is going out and speaking about the new hospital to people in the community,” Duffy says. “I’d tell them that, ‘I’m your neighbor, I live right down the road.’ As someone who grew up not far from the new medical center, I have a connection to the people in the community. That’s important.”
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery
559 West Germantown Pike
East Norriton, PA 19403
Phone: 800-346-7834