A series of "transitions and evolutions" is how Dr. Louis Weinstein describes both his career as a physician and the development of Samaritan Health Services as a regional health system.
In 1976, Dr. Weinstein and his two medical school classmates, Dr. Dan Mulkey and Dr. Tom Clark, relocated to Albany and launched Albany Internal Medicine Group. After three years, Dr. Weinstein left for Philadelphia where he completed a clinical fellowship in nephrology and subsequently rejoined his colleagues in Albany.
Since then, growth and change have been persistent.
The clinic first aligned itself with Albany General Hospital. Later, Dr. Weinstein and his colleagues played active roles in the process of integration with Samaritan Health Services.
"I am most proud of having been a key player in the coming together of three medical communities," says Dr. Weinstein. "When I arrived, there was intense competition among hospitals; now we've pooled our resources and established a system that has evolved into something special."
He also contends that without the collaboration of five independent hospitals, one or more may not have survived without affiliating with a large regional or national health system.
"We are fortunate to be under local control and financially sound and independent," says Dr. Weinstein, who has been a member of the Samaritan system board for the last 10 years. "I am not sure people understand how important that is."
Today Dr. Weinstein spends 50 percent of his time working on nephrology cases and the other half of his time seeing internal medicine patients. He was instrumental in bringing the first dialysis center to the Valley in 1990, and now is seeing his area of specialty grow rapidly to care for an increasing number of patients.
"When I arrived, dialysis patients had to travel to Eugene or Salem for treatment," he explains. "Now there are dialysis units in Lebanon, Corvallis, Lincoln City and Albany.
We have recently recruited two new nephrologists to join myself and Dr. Nahm to provide comprehensive care to the entire region."
With two daughters yet to begin high school and a commitment to numerous boards and community groups, Dr. Weinstein plans to continue his active involvement in Albany and be part of the continued evolution of the Samaritan community.