University Hospitals Neurological Institute Brings Expert Care, Close to Home

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Nationally ranked general neurological care and specialty services throughout the region

Innovations in Neurology & Neurosurgery | Fall 2020

People with neurological disorders often face functional limitations that make it difficult to travel — even for medical treatment. For these individuals, the ability to access specialized medical care locally can be a godsend.

Jeffrey Nelson, MDJeffrey Nelson, MD

University Hospitals’ Neurosurgeon Jeffrey Nelson, MD, experiences that firsthand at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center, where he treats numerous patients suffering from degenerative spine disease.

“Many of my patients are disabled and in constant pain, and traveling out of the county to see a neurosurgeon at a tertiary care center has been a significant barrier to care for them,” Dr. Nelson says. “Now I can see and treat them at a hospital nearby.”

As the sole hospital in Portage County, UH Portage Medical Center provides medical services for more than 163,000 residents. Today, those services include access to general and specialty neurological services through University Hospitals Neurological Institute. But that wasn’t always the case.

“We wanted to bring the neurologic experience and expertise of UH Neurological Institute to the community, and we’ve moved swiftly to make that happen,” says Nicholas Bambakidis, MD, Director and Vice President, UH Neurological Institute.

EXPANDING SERVICES AT PORTAGE

University Hospitals Health System acquired UH Portage Medical Center (formerly Robinson Memorial Hospital) in June 2015. Located about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland, the Ravenna, Ohio, hospital is a 117-staffed-bed facility and the second-largest employer in Portage County.

After the acquisition, Dr. Bambakidis and other UH leaders set out to accomplish several goals. The first was to develop UH Portage as a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC).

“Stroke is a very acute, time-sensitive and high-risk health condition,” says Cathy Sila, MD, FAAN, FAHA, Chair, Department of Neurology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, and Professor at the School of Medicine. “So that was the highest priority as we began building the team at UH Portage.”

As a CSC, UH Portage Medical Center has already received numerous awards from American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for its quality stroke care. Over the last several years, the hospital has also undergone a significant transformation so that all neurological services are provided by our UH Neurological Institute’s physician-experts.

Today, Dr. Nelson anchors Portage’s team of nationally recognized neurologists and neurosurgeons. All four physicians are experienced in managing a wide range of neurological diseases — from multiple sclerosis to complex headaches to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea, as well as dementia, epilepsy and neuromuscular disease.

  • Deborah Ewing-Wilson, DO, is board certified in general neurology with subspecialty boards in sleep medicine and clinical neurophysiology.
  • Karla Madalin, MD, is fellowship trained and board certified in general neurology. She sees patients with a wide variety of neurological disorders, with an emphasis on headaches.
  • Dr. Nelson is fellowship trained in endovascular neurosurgery and has completed specialty training in cerebral vascular surgery and neuroradiology procedures.
  • Marvin Sih, MD, is fellowship trained and board certified in electrodiagnostic medicine (EMG) and sleep medicine. He sees all sleep medicine patients in addition to his general neurology patients.

“At UH Portage, you have physicians who can see general neurological conditions, but also have expert training and specialty expertise, as well as additional training in subspecialty disorders,” Dr. Sila says.

BRINGING CARE WHERE IT IS NEEDED MOST

As part of UH Health System, UH Portage Medical Center brings the resources, expertise and support of a leading academic medical center to the local community. The Portage neurology team works closely with UH Neurological Institute colleagues as well as various subspecialists for difficult or complicated problems.

“I’ve seen how that directly benefits patients,” Dr. Nelson says. “I can discuss complex cases with a multidisciplinary panel of experts at weekly tumor, vascular and spine conferences at UH Cleveland Medical Center. And there are also tangible benefits, including staying up to date on the latest developments in care and advancing the field through research.”

In the era of COVID-19, UH has also expanded its virtual healthcare offerings to serve patients who are seeking world-class medical treatment for neurologic disorders, close to home.

“We’re trying to bring care where care is needed most — and make sure it’s very high quality across the region,” Dr. Sila says. “Patients can be kept in their community close to their families and heal, and they can also be transferred to other hospitals in the UH health system for specialty care when appropriate.”

To refer a patient to UH Neurological Institute or contact one of our experts, call 216-553-1778.

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