University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center offers comprehensive health care for community members of every age

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Donald DeCarlo, MD, is president and chief medical officer—as well as a practicing physician—at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Ken McEntee

Health care today emphasizes helping people to maintain the highest quality of life possible, says Donald DeCarlo, MD, president and chief medical officer at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center.

“We’re changing the way we deliver health care,” Dr. DeCarlo explains. “In the past it was mostly about taking care of patients when they got sick. It was episodic. Today, we’re moving into a new era where we’re able to deliver comprehensive health care with a focus on caring for patients in our community from cradle to grave.”

As a community hospital, UH Geauga Medical Center is uniquely positioned to impact the health and wellness of people in the area, he says. The turn of a new year, Dr. DeCarlo says, is an ideal time to explore how the medical center can help you to live a healthier, happier life.

“Geauga is the third healthiest county in Ohio, but still many people aren’t getting their recommended health screenings like mammograms, colonoscopies and certain blood panels,” Dr. DeCarlo laments. “These wellness screenings are important for identifying potential health problems before they get to a critical state where treatment can become more complicated.”

That’s why UH Geauga Medical Center last year established a new health screening coordinator position. The coordinator helps to educate patients about screenings and helps to schedule them at the appropriate times. Community outreach events also help to generate awareness.

“We do more than 500 community outreach events every year,” Dr. DeCarlo says.

Also in 2019, UH Geauga Medical Center opened the area’s first Wellness Clinic for Chronic Disease Management. The Wellness Clinic is available to help take the confusion out of living with chronic conditions like heart disease, anemia, chronic kidney disease and respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD. The Wellness Clinic helps patients and caregivers coordinate medications, dietary restrictions and other things one needs to keep track of when they are dealing with a chronic disease like diabetes or hypertension.

The Wellness Clinic offers various classes and other services. A helpful, on-site pharmacist is an example.

“Some patients are taking many different medications,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “That’s a lot to keep track of, especially when you’re elderly, or you’re sick and don’t feel well. Our pharmacist will review medications with patients. Sometimes a different drug regimen can make things easier and improve compliance.”

The Wellness Clinic also offers programs to help patients stop smoking.

“Smoking is a leading cause of cancers, stroke and heart disease,” Dr. DeCarlo emphasizes.

Smoking is a high risk factor for lung cancer, and overall, cancer kills more people than any medical condition except cardiovascular disease. Until recently, unlike breast, colon and prostate cancers, there was no screening test to detect lung cancer at early, and more treatable stages.

Today there is, and it can be done right at UH Geauga Medical Center.

“Without this new screening, lung cancer is typically not diagnosed until late stages, when the mortality rate is 85 percent,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “Scanning high risk patients who smoke provides the chance to detect suspicious nodules and diagnose cancer at an early stage where the survival rate is 85 percent. It is potentially the difference between life and death.”

Many conditions that negatively impact a person’s quality of life can be improved with behavioral changes, like exercising and eating a healthy diet.

You can find out how University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center can help you make those changes by calling 440-901-1090. Get more information at The Wellness Clinic is located at 13221 Ravenna Road, Suite 12, in Chardon. To learn more about Health and Wellness Events, please call 440-901-1169 or visit