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Avalon exec rooted in health care

August 14, 2000

Avalon exec rooted in health care



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Michael ModreskyMichael Modresky is plowing into his post as the new administrator of Avalon Manor Health Care Center off Marsh Pike in Hagerstown.

"I feel somewhat like a farmer in the spring," said Modresky, 54, who began his new job in mid-June. "The idea is to grow a crop."

Modresky is gauging the community's needs to determine how Avalon Manor, a 221-bed skilled nursing facility which provides traditional long-term nursing care and rehabilitative services for short-term care, can help meet those needs, he said.

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"You have to be flexible enough and responsive enough to fill the niche," he said.

Modresky is fertilizing his plan for Avalon's broadened mission with input from experienced staff members and through the utilization of community resources, he said.

He holds open staff meetings monthly to exchange ideas with Avalon's personnel, and circulates throughout the center, inviting suggestions from clients and their family members, Modresky said.

"If he's not out there, they come to him," added Kelly Redmond, spokeswoman for Magnolia Management, Inc., which owns Avalon and six other nursing homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

"I think to be successful, you have to listen to the people around you," Modresky said. "Listening is good, but you also have to do something with the information that you secure."

He is sowing the seeds of new ideas for the health care center, he said.

Modresky is working closely with the local Alzheimer's Association to "fine-tune" and expand Avalon's Alzheimer's Disease programs in tandem with the development of new methods for treating Alzheimer's patients.

He's exploring the possibility of creating an in-house kidney dialysis program to serve those people in the community who could benefit from such a service.

Modresky is coordinating programs with the local Arthritis Foundation, and promoting Avalon's function as an extensive rehabilitation center for people of all ages.

He'd also like establish a link with the county educational system to pair students with Avalon residents rich in oral history, he said.

"I've got tons of ideas," he said.

Modresky draws from a wealth of experience in the health care industry.

He spent 21 years working in a variety of capacities - from case worker to counselor to administrator - at a mental retardation facility overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

The Wilkes-Barre, Pa., native, commutes daily to Hagerstown from the Elkridge, Md., home he shares with his wife, Jeanmarie, and one of their four children. He has been a licensed nursing home administrator in Maryland for 12 years.

It's a challenging, diverse job, Modresky said.

His responsibilities range from managing Avalon's budget to meeting staff and family needs to overseeing weed control on the property. Yes, weeds.

"I know all about thistle," he said, laughing.

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