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What the doctor ordered

Ribbon cut on new health-care facility in Westfield

OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce Pictured at the ribbon cutting is the staff of Family Health Medical Services in Westfield.

WESTFIELD — A project that started in early 2019 is finally coming to fruition a little over two years later. On Wednesday afternoon, the ribbon was cut on Family Health Medical Services’ Westfield Office.

“I think the world of Bob (Berke) and I think it’s great that they’re here in Westfield,” said Westfield Mayor Michael Vandevelde.

Dr. Robert Berke, the founding practice partner, opened the first office for Family Health Medical Service in Mayville in 1982 and has since expanded to have two Jamestown offices, with this office in Westfield marking the fourth. The location, on 216 E. Main Street has gone through a lot to get to where it is.

“I bought my first car here when I moved here in 1982,” Berke said of the site that once housed a auto dealership.

“It brought back some great memories of what this place used to look like. In April of 2019, there was an old building here boarded up, and 20 months later, here we are.”

From left, is Dr. Robert Berke, County Executive P.J. Wendel, and Westfield Mayor Michael Vandevelde.

Berke said their goal is for Family Health Medical Services to be the best for any community they serve, which includes having a relationship with other services in the village they’ll be joining.

“Because we work in three communities, our goal is to support the community we work in,” he said. “We have a great relationship with Allegheny Health Network across the street.”

Berke’s goal in 18 months is to serve 20,000 patients on a regular basis. In the history of the agency, Berke said they have served 95,154 patients in their 39 years, on top of delivering 2,000 babies, and helping to serve one nursing home, two hospitals and three schools.

With seven doctors, 15 extenders, and 85 other staff with six more coming on soon, Berke said the Westfield office is just the next one in a line of things to come.

“Our plan is to keep expanding our service in Chautauqua County and the surrounding communities,” he said. “This is just the next step in what we’re going to be doing over the next ten years.”

While State Sen. George Borello could not be in attendance at the ribbon cutting, Lisa Vanstrom offered comments on Borello’s behalf, and presented Dr. Berke with a certificate, courtesy of Borello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

“Putting patients first has always been a hallmark of (Family Health Medical Services),” Vanstrom said. “This office is a perfect example. It grew out of your mission to make it easier for rural residents to access the high-quality family healthcare you provide.”

Additionally, County Executive P.J. Wendel was in attendance, and was able to provide a glowing recommendation of Dr. Berke’s services, based on his own personal experience.

“When I came into office last January, things changed somewhere around March,” Wendel said. “I had to create a team of health care individuals that would give me the best response. I knew Dr. Berke was a long-standing member, a former public health commissioner for the county, but over the last year, this has been more of a friendship. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Berke for everything he’s done over the last year.”

At the end of the day, opening of the newest office in Westfield was not a one-man job, and it took the collaborative effort of Berke, the village government, county officials and seemingly countless other people to get the job done.

“A project like this never gets done without a team of people working on this,” Berke said. “Our practice manager and all our staff pitched in, including nurses, physicians, clerical staff all put in ideas to make sure we didn’t make the same mistakes we’ve made before, while adding new ideas for our designers to make sure the building suited all our needs.”

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