Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

Dr. Roth charts his future path

By Dan Hust
LIBERTY — October 1, 2010 — Dr. Donald Roth is almost ready to take his first deep breath in 50 years.
“This is going to be the most time I’ve had off since 1959 when I finished high school and had the summer off,” he related with a laugh.
As of October 23, he’ll officially be without a job – but don’t let that fool you.
After a trip away with his wife, Roth will be right back at the Ferndale office complex he owns, Liberty Professional Plaza, preparing for the next phase of his already long career.
Come January 1, the Liberty Medical Group will leave Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) affiliation to join Middletown Medical.
Though it’s the outcome of a strained relationship that briefly turned into litigation earlier this year – which led to Roth’s “departure” this October – the changeover may hardly be noticed by the 7,000 or so patients.
“We want this to be an amicable transition,” noted Roth, who with Dr. David Schwalb, Physician’s Assistant Dennis Waxman and Nurse Practitioner Nan Eschenberg offers primary healthcare at Liberty Medical Group.
“Our goal is to have a seamless transition,” agreed Schwalb.
Indeed, many patients probably aren’t even aware that Schwalb effectively tendered his resignation to CRMC earlier this month, triggering a four-month “no-fault divorce,” as Roth put it, so as to ensure the group’s last day with the hospital is December 31 and first day with Middletown Medical is January 1.
(People need not worry: Schwalb will remain at work all the way through the transition.)
Though harsh words have been exchanged on both sides in months past, CRMC spokesman J.P. McGuirk said his bosses have no plans to open up a competing practice.
“They’re a viable practice and will still be serving the community,” McGuirk noted. “We wish them luck.”
He’s right – Liberty Medical Group isn’t going anywhere. The reaffiliation with a Middletown-based doctors’ group does not include a relocation.
So long as Roth can come to an arrangement with CRMC for the space in his building (the hospital’s lease doesn’t run out until May), Liberty Medical Group won’t even move out of its current offices. And if that doesn’t work out, other space is opening up elsewhere in the building.
The faces will be the same, too, with Schwalb, Waxman and Eschenberg on board and office staff having the option to continue with the practice.
Offerings and equipment, however, may be expanded, thanks to Middletown Medical’s dozens of doctors and specialists, plus an in-house imaging center and laboratory.
“We’re excited about these folks,” Roth remarked. “They’re really interested in expanding and improving our services.”
Liberty Medical Group has inked a two-year contract with Middletown Medical, which also has offices in Ellenville and Monroe.
“We get the feeling they know what they’re doing and absolutely, totally don’t want the status quo,” Roth explained.
The feeling is mutual.
“They’re a great practice,” affirmed Middletown Medical Marketing Director Melissa Wolff. “We can only help to enhance the services they offer. I think it’s going to be a great partnership.”
The practice will also, finally, be switching to electronic medical records, eliminating time-consuming paperwork for both patients and staff.
In fact, Schwalb predicts the office hours will be increased, while patient wait times will be decreased.
“Bigger, faster, better: that’s what our goal is,” said Roth.

top of page  |  home  |  archives