COAL TOWNSHIP — As a local native, Mike Morgan is happy to serve the community he grew up in as the new administrator of Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital (G-SACH).
Morgan, 33, of Coal Township, officially took over the role from predecessor Sam Balukoff on March 4. Having grown up in Paxinos, Morgan said when he learned the position was available, he thought it would be an amazing opportunity to have a direct impact on the community he grew up in.
“With my familiarity with the local community, I thought I could bring some ideas to the table for the campus to meet the needs of the community,” he said.
It’s not just his ties to the local community that makes the 2004 Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School graduate qualified for the position.
Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree in business administration from Bloomsburg University.
He brings with him to the job a plethora of experience. Morgan spent two years working in patient psych at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Harrisburg before moving into operations. He began working for Geisinger 10 years ago through the pediatric realm where he spent four years as manager of five pediatric subspecialties. He most recently was the operations manager for pain medicine in Geisinger Health System.
As G-SACH administrator, Morgan is responsible for the operational oversight of the campus. He assists on strategizing which specialities should be brought to campus and how to achieve that. He also has oversight over some of the operational leaders on campus, making communication of hospital strategies one of his main focuses.
Growing up in the community, Morgan said his family members have always gone to Shamokin Hospital, even prior to the merger with Geisinger in 2012. He’s always known the campus as a community hospital and said he understands the needs of this specific community.
“I’m familiar with the community health needs assessment for the area. One is looking at access to care, so I’m able to look at market data that tells what specialists are needed in our area.”
Morgan said an important aspect of G-SACH that isn’t seen in many major hospitals is the number of local primary care physicians who are contracted to come into the hospital to provide services for their patients.
He said, “It’s an incredible environment that you don’t normally get, but they’re always willing to come help our patients.”
It’s important for Morgan to provide care close to home for those in the community, and Geisinger uses innovative ways to provide that care. For instance, Morgan said the hospital uses telemedicine, connecting local patients to specialists they otherwise would have to leave campus to meet.
A large goal at G-SACH is to find different tactics to recruit specialists and primary care physicians in the area to provide the best care possible without having to leave the community.
Morgan is also excited to bring his own flare to the hospital and continue improvements. In addition to aesthetically pleasing outdoor renovations, interior renovations are underway to give patients a state-of-the-art facility to go to for their care.
In June, a 10-bay post surgical unit opened for clean surgical cases, meaning cases with no major incisions. Work is currently underway to relocate the orthopedic clinic in order to expand its presence on campus.
With approximately 25,500 emergency room visits per year, Morgan said they are also looking at ways to expand from nine beds to 20 beds. He said “a bunch of dominos” have to get knocked down first in order to achieve that, but he’s hoping it’s done within the next two to three years.
The hospital also features a special care unit with seven beds, a 30-bed medical-surgical unit and a biocontainment unit.