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Go Red: Listen To Your Heart

In the midst of 2022, Marney Rowland was an avid walker, logging anywhere between four to seven miles daily. The tread on her sneakers showed her success, and the scale did, too, as she’d begun losing weight and feeling healthier. Dropping 25 pounds, Marney noticed her heart felt like it was skipping beats.

Community Memorial Primary Care Physician, Dr. Kerri Taylor, adjusted some of Marney’s medication – but the condition worsened. When she began to see some kaleidoscope colors in the corners of her eyes, Dr. Taylor referred her to Dr. Avneet Singh, Cardiologist at Community Memorial. “I had seen a cardiologist about six years ago but hadn’t had any abnormal findings,” noted Marney. “These symptoms and everything that came after was unexpected.”

In early November, Dr. Singh’s office performed an EKG (electrocardiogram) on Marney – a test recording the heart’s electrical signal to check for different heart conditions. After seeing some concerning results, a second test was performed immediately following. The next day, the office called Marney and asked her to return for a nuclear stress test, which uses a tracer and an imaging machine to create pictures of the blood flow to the heart. Marney was then sent to Crouse Health in Syracuse for a heart catheterization, a procedure in which a thin tube is guided through a blood vessel in the heart.

“The doctor came in and said I had blockages and needed a five-way bypass, and I was sent to Upstate Hospital, next door, right away,” added Marney. “They kept me a few days, and then I had surgery. Seven hours in the OR for what ended up being a quadruple bypass, then five more days as an inpatient, and I went home.”

Post-op, Marney has some fluid still on her lungs, and her care team adjusts her medications and monitors her blood levels weekly. “Dr. Singh advised I will most likely be on AFib medication for a couple of months, which is common,” stated Marney. “I feel better than I did yesterday but not as good as I’ll feel tomorrow.”

Home recovering, Marney notes the appreciation for her long-time primary care provider. “I’ve seen Dr. Taylor for 20 years, I love her – and now, I’ve got a great Cardiologist with Dr. Singh. He has a great attitude with patients and always lifts me mentally.” Originally from the Oneida and Sherrill area, Marney moved north a few years ago, now traveling for an hour to see Dr. Taylor and Dr. Singh. “When you have a great medical provider you love, it’s worth going the distance to them.”

To learn more about the primary and specialty care services provided within the Community Memorial network, visit www.communitymemorial.org. Community Memorial Hospital is a critical access hospital in Hamilton, NY and offers primary care in five locations; Hamilton, Cazenovia, Morrisville, Munnsville, and Waterville.


The Community Memorial (CMH) healthcare system is excited to welcome Gregory Ripich, MD, who joins the organization’s surgery team as a General Surgeon.

Dr. Ripich joins Dr. Martin Ernits in the General Surgery Program at CMH; this addition provides the community with a greater scope of care and allows CMH to care for a greater volume of patients.  Ripich will perform elective procedures and surgeries, specializing in various surgeries such as colon/rectal, breast, thyroid, skin and wound.  Dr. Martin will continue to perform emergent surgeries and collaborate with onsite hospitalists.

Ripich has started seeing patients in the CMH Family Health Centers of Hamilton and Cazenovia.  “The Community Memorial team is excited to bring Dr. Ripich on board.  He brings a broad range of skills and experience to our patients,” commented Dr. Michael Walsh, Chief Medical Officer.  “With his focus on a specialty covering various medical issues, we’re confident that patients will be pleased with the care offered here in Hamilton.”

Ripich performed his postgraduate training at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Michigan after receiving his Doctorate in Medicine from SUNY-Halth Science Center at Syracuse.  Prior to this, he studied at the University of Buffalo, receiving his Master of Science degree.  Ripich attended Cornell University for his undergraduate degree, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology.  His extensive career has defined his surgical interest and experience in advanced minimally invasive surgery and endoscopic procedures.  He most recently served as the Medical Director for Surgical Associates of CMA in Ithaca, NY.

“Dr. Ripich brings experience and a wealth of knowledge from larger health systems that will allow patients to receive care right here in Hamilton,” noted Jeff Coakley, President and CEO.  “CMH is excited for the future of General Surgery in Hamilton.  We encourage patients to utilize the expanded services offered here.”

“I’m looking forward to joining Community Memorial and establishing patient care,” stated Dr. Ripich. “I enjoy working with new hospitals and communities, helping them to grow their general surgery programs with new techniques and ideas.” To learn more about the services, medical staff and more offered at CMH, or to make an appointment, please call (315)648-6408 or visit www.communitymemorial.org/


 The Community Memorial (CMH) healthcare system is excited to welcome Kareem Hamad, MD, and Matthew McKay, MD, who will both join the organization’s Hospitalist Team.

Expanding the current team of CMH hospitalists compiled of Nathan Keever, DO; April Lamunion FNP; and Lynette Champagne, NP; Dr. Hamad and Dr. McKay will round out the group of inpatient physicians and nurse practitioners who work exclusively inside the hospital. These providers care for patients admitted to the organization, collaborating with other departments during patient admissions, post-surgical care and swing bed patients.

“I knew joining CMH would be a great fit for me when I saw that the team is just as committed to providing patients with quality, patient-centered care as I am,” noted Dr. Hamad. “I look forward to collaborating with nurses and other medical staff to ensure patients receive the best care possible.”

Hamad studied medicine at the Alexandria University Faculty of Medicine in Alexandria, Egypt, where he received his Bachelors of Internal Medicine and General Surgery.  After that, Hamad studied General Surgery and Etymology at Trafford Hospital in Manchester, United Kingdom.  He received his Boards in Family Medicine in 2013 and Fellowship of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine in 2016.

Dr. Hamad has been providing care to patients in Central New York since 2010.  He brings experience in inpatient management, integrative medicine, wound care, minor surgeries and rapid response/code management.  His experience adds to the high quality of care patients expect from CMH’s healthcare system.

“We are excited to have Dr. Hamad join our team.  His focus on providing high quality, patient-centered, evidence-based care to our community and surrounding areas furthers Community Memorial’s commitment to excellence,” commented Dr. Michael Walsh, Chief Medical Officer.

McKay comes to Community Memorial after an extensive career as a local physician. Graduating from St. George’s University School of Medicine and completing his family medicine residency at Mountainside Hospital, McKay was a private practice primary care provider with a local group and has served as a hospitalist in a neighboring facility since 2018 as well. As an Oneida native, McKay has served as the President and Vice President of a medical staff group as well as the Chairperson of the Department of Internal Medicine. “Community Memorial has an outstanding reputation for providing superior care to patients, and I’m excited to begin collaborative care between my fellow colleagues and hospital departments,” remarked McKay.

“Dr. McKay and Dr. Hamad bring experience a wealth of knowledge from larger health systems that will benefit patients in Hamilton without having to travel to other hospitals in the region,” noted Jeff Coakley, President and CEO. “We’re excited for the expansion of skill that these providers bring to our Hospitalist Team.”

Community Memorial Welcomes the Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services

Community Memorial (CMH) is proud to welcome Heather Bernard, DNP, RN, CIC, FAPIC, as the new Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services. Bernard joins the administrative team following the retirement of Diane Chase, RN.


As the Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services, Bernard provides mentorship and guidance to nursing leaders and assigned patient care departments. She is responsible for enhancing clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and improving quality and patient safety.


Bernard brings a strong background in managing and preventing infectious diseases, previously serving as a Regional Infection Control Specialist in New York State with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation. Leading the regional Epidemiology Program response to COVID-19 across the state, she was recognized for her mitigation work with a significant COVID outbreak in a hospital. 


Prior to her time with the CDC, Bernard worked in the Mohawk Valley Health Systems Network as the Director of Infection Prevention. Bernard worked with evidence-based programs to address infection prevention and collaborated with multidisciplinary teams to improve quality measures  including falls, pressure ulcers, bedside rounding, and healthcare-associated infections.


A long-time Hamilton resident and no stranger to Community Memorial, Bernard returns to where she started her career in nursing 25 years ago. “I am proud to be back at CMH, where my journey began and continue its outstanding reputation for patient care,” Bernard commented. “My career journey and experiences have shaped my transformational leadership style. I look forward to supporting the provision of high-quality, evidence-based healthcare to our community.”


“Heather’s experience in leading a team across a large healthcare system and managing response for COVID outbreaks in Article 28 organizations across the state reflect her ability to lead effectively even during the most trying times in healthcare,” stated Jeff Coakley, President & CEO. “We are so fortunate to have Heather back at Community Memorial. I look forward to watching her lead her team in continued success.”



[Hamilton, NY]  Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) was rated five stars in patient satisfaction  by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for 2020. 


The Becker’s Hospital Review released their annual list of the hospitals across the country that were rated four or five stars in patient satisfaction for 2020.  Community Memorial is the only hospital in New York State to receive a rating above four stars; rated five stars.  Becker’s Hospital Review uses the data collected by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) and CMS System scores to compile this list.


The HCAHPS survey measures patients’ perception of their hospital experience.  The CMS methodlogy identifies the average rating in the HCAHPS results.  Community Memorial first received this rating in 2018.


“When a patient comes in our health system, we treat them the way we would treat any of our family members, with compassion, respect and concern for the patients’ overall well-being,” commented Diane Chase, Chief Nursing Officer at Community Memorial.  “Achieving a five-star rating during a pandemic is truly an honor.”


“Community Memorial has not been exempt of pandemic challenges, COVID surges, staffing crises, Emergency Department and inpatient volume record highs, ambulance diversions, a pause on elective surgeries, and exhaustion and stress of our staff, have all effected our healthcare system and staff.  Being able to face these challenges and maintain our five-star rating in patient satisfaction is a true testament to our team’s commitment to providing quality care to our patients,” commented Jeffery Coakley, President and CEO of Community Memorial.  “Our team of providers, nurses and staff continues to inspire me.”


The Becker’s Hospital Review produces this list annually, equipping healthcare leaders with information they need to learn, exchange ideas and continue conversations about the most critical issues in healthcare.

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