Thursday, August 26, 2010

The heart of Riddle Hospital

I am always fascinated by the myriad ways the newspaper affects a community.

And of course I am always the person people turn to whey they don’t care for something that has appeared in the paper.

That’s what took me to Riddle Hospital yesterday afternoon. I was there to meet the new boss out there, Gary Perecko.

Actually, all of this was preceded by a Sound Off item that did not have especially complimentary things to say about the hospital. In fact, the caller’s description of a recent visit to the ER was anything but.

That prompted a phone call from Cecilia Cummings, the head of communications for Main Line Health. She wondered if we would be interested in getting a response from the hospital. I told her we’d welcome it. That item appeared on our op-ed page.

It also I think probably laid the groundwork for a visit with Perecko, who has been the president of Riddle for the last 16 months.

We sat in his office and had a talk about the hospital. One of the things that fascinated me as I sat there was how many similarities I saw between the hospital and the newspaper.

We’re both dealing with a horrendous economy, struggling to provide a service amid a changing economic landscape.

Much like me, Perecko also is getting his staff used to the idea of being part of a corporate atmosphere. For years Riddle was an independent hospital. They are now aligned with Main Line Health.

One of Perecko's goals is not to lose that community connection, while taking full advantage of everything his relationship with Main Line offers.

I now how he feels.

I came away from the conversation impressed with Perecko, thinking of him as something of the heartbeat of a crucial cog in the Delaware County community.

Welcome to Delco, Gary.

Look for a full feature story on Riddle and Perecko's role at the helm Sunday in the Business section from staff writer Kathleen Carey.

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