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Never Alone: A Physician Assistant’s Care Provides Confidence, Options

Marlene Hogrebe has Jaylon Hartley, PA-C, in her corner seeking solutions

Marlene Hogrebe

When Luzerne County resident Marlene Hogrebe’s now former urologist told her that urologic problems that included frequent urination were something she’d just have to live with, she was furious.

This can’t be my fate, she thought.

That fate eventually took another turn, a positive one, when Hogrebe found LVPG Urology–1250 Cedar Crest, and care team clinicians, urologist James Johannes, MD, and physician assistant (PA) Jaylon Hartley, PA-C

Hogrebe, 68, of Pringle Borough, says her problems started last fall with urinary tract infections. Her doctor gave her antibiotics, only to have the infection clear up, but always return. She put off seeing a urologist.

Then, around Christmas, she went to a hospital emergency room near her home because she was sick and vomiting. The diagnosis was kidney stones, something she never experienced before. Afraid to leave her home because of her urination issue, she sought out a urologist in her area. That’s when she was told she’d likely have to live with her problems. That’s when enough was enough.

Turning the page

Hogrebe and her husband of 50 years both had experience with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) because of prior bouts with cancer. Hogrebe had multiple myeloma, now in remission. Positive experiences with their cancer care at LVHN prompted Hogrebe to seek out a solution for her urinary problems.

“I wanted to go to LVHN because they treat you better,” Hogrebe says.

Hogrebe saw Hartley, a physician assistant, at her first appointment with LVPG Urology–1250 Cedar Crest. “Jaylon was wonderful. She told me I absolutely did not have to live with my symptoms, that there are various treatments that might help,” Hogrebe says. “She said ‘We’ll get there.’ She was so encouraging, kind and compassionate.”

When Hogrebe speaks about Hartley, emotion creeps into the end of nearly each sentence.  “She’s so compassionate about everything. You can tell Jaylon is in it because she truly cares  about her patients,” Hogrebe says. “She does everything she can to alleviate the problems you are having.”

“I never met anybody like that. There’s just something about Jaylon. She makes you feel special. She’s my guardian angel.”

Marlene Hogrebe

A special kind of PA

Hartley’s interest in medicine started in her teens when she volunteered at a hospital near her home. She says her goal is to have a positive impact on her patients’ lives and notes working in urology can involve having sensitive conversations and treating conditions that can greatly affect someone’s quality of life. “I wanted the opportunity to help patients overcome these conditions to improve their life and create a comfortable environment to have these sensitive discussions,” she says.

Hogrebe says she’s grateful for Hartley’s always timely response, even after hours, to questions she asks through the MyLVHN patient portal. Outside of a face-to-face visit, Hartley says the portal is her favorite form of communication with patients, allowing her to respond quickly with advice or to order a test. She feels she has an ally who treats her like family.

Dr. Johannes says physician assistants are a critical part of the care team and notes Hartley is a “shining example” of that. “In today’s health care environment, with increasing demand for our services, we use physician/PA teams to meet the need for high-quality, expeditious care,” he says.

Physician assistants, in constant collaboration with physicians, offer patients great continuity, Dr. Johannes says. Long-term follow-up care is typically handed by PAs. “Jaylon assists in many of my surgeries and sees many of those patients in follow-up. Her familiarity with the patient’s surgery helps her care for them with a more personal touch. Marlene Hogrebe is a great example of how that care shines.”

Tackling the future

“Some medical conditions are not curable and sometimes people do live with ongoing symptoms from an illness, but as medical professionals, we must try our best to resolve or at least decrease the severity of those symptoms,” Hartley says. “Sometimes that means actively working with them to try new medications, lifestyle changes or procedures.”

Hogrebe recently underwent a third kidney stone surgery. With that now complete, Hartley says it’s back to resolving Hogrebe’s other urinary problems. “It’s a step-by-step process,” Hartley says, adding that she’s optimistic that she and Dr. Johannes can find the key to improving Hogrebe’s overactive bladder symptoms as well as prevent infections and kidney stones.    

“I have high praise for everyone down at [LVPG Urology] Cedar Crest,” Hogrebe says. “It’s a different kind of people. A different breed of surgery.”

Hogrebe counts Hartley as those who are different in a very, very good way. 

“I never met anybody like that. There’s just something about Jaylon. She makes you feel special. She’s my guardian angel.”

For more on urology at LVHN, visit

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