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Hospital earns designation


Uniontown Hospital and doctors John Sunyecz, Lawrence Glad and Christine Wilson have earned a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology (COEMIG) designation from the AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists) and the Surgical Review Board.

With the hospital’s focus on making a healthy difference in the lives of its patients, the COEMIG designation is just one more way the hospital is committed to ensuring that difference.

“We are certainly proud to have earned this designation and it further signifies our dedication to provide the best and safest care to our patients, each and every day,” Uniontown Hospital CEO Steve Handy said. “This designation will hopefully foster continual improvement in our benchmarks and standards as we work to provide the best care possible to our patients.”

The COEMIG program focuses on improving the safety and quality of gynecologic patient care and lowering the overall costs associated with successful treatment. The program is specifically designed to educate patients about minimally invasive gynecological procedures and to increase their access to such procedures by distinguishing hospitals and surgeons that have demonstrated excellence in advanced techniques in this field.

To earn the designation, the hospital and applicable surgeons must go through an arduous review. 

“The process of applying for and passing the rigorous inspection required for COEMIG validated the excellent patient care that the designated surgeons and Uniontown Hospital provide,” Emergency, Imaging and Surgical Executive Director Mark Dillon said. “Going forward, the perioperative team of health care providers involved in Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Uniontown Hospital, under the direction of Doctors Sunyecz, Glad or Wilson, will strive to provide the safest and most exceptional care available for our gynecological patients.”

By designating the individual surgeons and facility together, patients are able to distinguish providers who have met the requirements for delivering high-quality perioperative care from those that have not.

“As noted by AAGL, when hysterectomy is necessary, the demonstrated safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive procedures mandate that they be the procedures of choice,” Sunyecz, who serves as the hospital’s COEMIG director, said.

Clinical Director of the Surgical Suite at Uniontown Hospital, Linda Kunkel, said that the rise in minimally invasive gynecological procedures has resulted in improved patient satisfaction and better overall outcomes.

“One powerful impact that the dedication to minimally invasive gynecology by the designated surgeons has achieved is the significant decrease in abdominal hysterectomies at Uniontown Hospital and the increase of minimally invasive hysterectomies over the past ten years,” she said.

Sunyecz said that move toward minimally invasive gynecology has tangible implications.

“Increasing these procedures and moving away from others translates to less blood loss during surgery, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery and return to work…and ultimately, improved patient outcome and satisfaction,” Sunyecz said.

Statistical records reflect this trend, with just 7 percent of hysterectomies performed 10 years ago at Uniontown Hospital conducted laparoscopically. In 2014 that number had vaulted to 59 percent of all hysterectomies performed, with Sunyecz noting that his team routinely performs between two and four procedures each week.

The COEMIG designation comes not long after Sunyecz penned an article for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology detailing an innovative way he and his team solved a common problem faced by surgeons during hysterectomies.

The surgeons performed 100 laparoscopic hysterectomies using their adaptive technique with excellent results.

“Often, the perception of the community regarding local hospitals is that they may not offer the types of treatments available at larger hospitals or academic institutions,” Sunyecz said. “By achieving the designation at Uniontown Hospital, it should make our community feel more comfortable with the idea that patients can achieve a very high level minimally invasive gynecologic care close to home.”  

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