About Westfield Memorial Hospital

WMH mission

Westfield Memorial Hospital is committed to compassion and excellence in the delivery of care that appropriately addresses the health needs of our community.

WMH board of directors 2022-2023

  • Helen Baran, Chair
  • Beth Patri, Vice Chair
  • Diana Holt, Secretary
  • James Rohrbaugh, CFO, Treasurer
  • Tracy Bennett, CPA
  • Tom Berkhouse
  • Christopher Clark, DO, MHA
  • Heidi Fowler
  • Robert Galbraith
  • Roberta Patterson
  • Mark Perry
  • Sallie Piazza, RN
  • Jeremy Riedesel, MD
  • Jillian Roache
  • Thomas Tarpley
  • Russell Elwell, MD, Medical Director

WMH Executive Leadership

  • Karen Surkala, COO
  • Rodney Buchanan, RN, Administrator WMH

Service area

The communities that Westfield Memorial Hospital serves are Westfield, Ripley, Brocton, Sherman, Clymer, Bemus Point, Mayville, Chautauqua, Stockton, Portland, Dewittville, Hartfield, and Ashville.

Community health needs assessment

Read our community health needs assessment. A community health needs assessment (CHNA) is vital to identifying the health concerns of communities, to learn about the factors that influence their health and challenges that impact those factors. It is required for tax-exempt hospitals to conduct a CHNA and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the identified community health needs.

WMH history

Westfield Memorial Hospital was founded in 1942 with funds raised by local Rotarians. Since the country was in the middle of World War II, most doctors had been called to serve in the military. The hospital founders felt they could improve the effectiveness of the remaining doctors by providing a hospital in which to provide care.

The founders based the hospital in a brick Italianate structure facing East Main Street that was guarded by two black, cast-iron Newfoundland dogs (Canton and Sailor). The building was originally constructed in 1853 by Dr. John Spencer, who lived and work there and later served as a doctor in the Union Army during the Civil War.

During Dr. Spencer’s career, doctors did not study medicine in school, but instead gained their knowledge by working with other doctors. One of his most notable pupils was B.F. Goodrich, who later gave up the practice of medicine for the rubber industry. Another visitor was an itinerant Scandinavian carpenter named Jacob A. Riis who worked on one of the building’s many renovations. Mr. Riis became a well-known author, philanthropist and friend of Theodore Roosevelt.

Additions were made to the original hospital in 1948, 1968 and 1981. A major building and renovation project resulted in the addition of 17,720 square feet and renovated facilities in cardiac rehab, physical therapy, radiology, emergency care, surgery and laboratory services. In January 1999, the affiliation with Saint Vincent Health System was restructured, providing a mechanism to share medical services and resources otherwise unavailable to a small rural hospital.

In 2005, New York State’s Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, known as the Berger Commission, was created to review and strengthen New York State’s acute and long-term care delivery systems. This Commission indicated that it wanted to change the hospital’s mission and services. Thanks to support from the community and adjustments by the hospital, the commission later reversed that plan. Westfield Memorial Hospital remains a full and permanently licensed hospital, offering both inpatient and outpatient care.

In 2013, Saint Vincent Hospital and Westfield Memorial Hospital joined the Allegheny Health Network, further expanding the care available to the community.