National Rural Health Day 2022

The logo for National Rural Health Day on Nov. 18, 2021

Early in 2021,  David Hoff, longtime chief executive officer of Wayne Memorial Hospital, announced his retirement at the end of 2021. Wayne Tomorrow! took the opportunity to mark Hoff’s valuable and visionary contribution to Wayne County by nominating him for the PA Rural Community Health Leader of the Year Award.

On National Rural Health Day, Thursday, Nov. 18, Lisa Davis, executive director of the PA Office of Rural Health (PORH) presented Hoff with this prestigious state award at a reception at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Expansion of Services

During his 20-year tenure at Wayne Memorial, he has overseen expansions such as the new patient tower in 2019 and the new Emergency Department in 2005. While these physical improvements are significant, it is the innovations in patient care, provider recruitment and expanded services that stand as Hoff’s most enduring legacy.

The Wayne Tomorrow! nomination notes that through his dynamic leadership, Hoff molded the non-profit Wayne Memorial Hospital and Health System into a multi-faceted, fiscally strong and medically sound rural health care system focused on community wellness, innovation and collaboration. 

The nomination also cites his commitment to adapting to local health care needs and basing those decisions on data. Comprehensive community and patient surveys prompted the expansion of behavioral health services, development of a Tick Borne Disease Wellness Center, and the innovative Food Prescription Program for chronic disease management.

He also recruited a wide array of specialty practices, which helps lighten the burden of transportation on the rural population.

Seeing an opportunity to change funding philosophy for health care, Hoff spearheaded Wayne Memorial Hospital’s participation as a pilot for Pennsylvania’s innovative Rural Health Model.

Most importantly, the nomination notes Hoff understands the crucial role of the institution in Wayne County, not just as a promoter of good health but also as a key asset in economic and community development. He understands that a strong, quality health care system enhances the quality of life in our community and assists in recruiting employees and entrepreneurs to the area.

PORH Executive Director Lisa Davis said, “Wayne Memorial Hospital has been an exemplar in the state for providing health care rooted in the community.”

Rural Health Day Proclamation

She and Hoff also joined officials from The Wright Center for Community Health and the Himalayan Institute before the Wayne County Commissioners for the National Rural Health Day Proclamation.

During the meeting, Hoff noted Wayne Memorial and The Wright Center are developing a residency program at the hospital that should help to form a pipeline of young health care professionals into the region. 

Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak of The Wright Center said they are most proud of their collaborations with Wayne Memorial, calling it “what a rural health care system should look like.” She noted TWC works to identify and fill gaps, including providing addiction services and a Healthy Moms Program. 

Fred Jackson, Executive Director of the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers, said one of the key achievements of the CHC was lowering the average age of network physicians from 60 in 2007 to 45 in 2021.

Dr. Carrie Demers of the Himalayan Institute, who sits on the Community Health Centers Board, said being on the board has encouraged her to seek out more local partnerships on things like nutrition education, walking programs, etc. “I am inspired by what I have learned about the web of care,” she explained.

Wayne Tomorrow! efforts to cultivate a vibrant future for residents relies on a responsive and innovative web of care that contributes to the overall quality of life for all Wayne County.