1. When did Endoscopy Center at St. Mary (ECSM) open?

Endoscopy Center at St. Mary was established in 2006.


2. What is the relationship between Endoscopy Center at St. Mary and St. Mary Medical Center?

There is a joint venture between Endoscopy Center of St. Mary (ECSM) and St. Mary Medical Center. ECSM is located directly on the campus of St. Mary Medical Center, yet is financially independent of the medical center and has its own administration that governs day-to-day operations. Choosing a location in direct proximity to a major medical center was intended to benefit the patients who may require a higher level of care, and ECSM works closely with St. Mary administration to assure consistent quality medical performance.


3. What sets the ECSM apart from other ambulatory centers in our area?

We are one of a few Bucks County endoscopy centers that is located on a major hospital campus.


4. Is the center certified or accredited?

Yes, Endoscopy Center at St. Mary is licensed and accredited.

We are committed to closely following the quality guidelines established by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), and are reviewed on a regular basis. Our current reviews include:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Health State Licensure Survey September 6, 2017.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health Life Safety Survey August 16, 2017.
  • Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) May 12-13, 2016 Approved for 3-year Accreditation through 2019.
5. How large is the facility? How many procedures are performed each year?

We have three procedure rooms with 12 beds and perform more than 5,000 procedures including colonoscopy, dilation, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and upper endoscopy at the center annually.


6. Is there a waiting room?

In addition to relaxing in our own comfortable waiting room, visitors may utilize the community facilities at St. Mary Medical Center, including the Healing Gardens and cafeteria. We also offer free Wi-Fi.


7. Is there free parking?

Yes. Regular self-parking is free, and for added patient convenience we also offer complimentary valet parking.


8. How many physicians are on staff?

Endoscopy Center at St. Mary is a joint venture between 4 colorectal surgeons and 6 gastroenterologists affiliated with St. Mary Medical Center.

The Gastroenterology Group, P.A.

• Craig R. Barash, MD

• Angela D. Frates, MD

• John J. Kravitz, MD

• Scott A. Modena, MD

• David R. Salowe, MD

• John A. Volpe, DO

The Center for Colon and Rectal Health, Inc.

• Robert P. Akban, MD

• Richard S. Goldstein, MD

• Anne-Marie Marcoux, MD

• David M. Schaffzin, MD


9. Are there any female physicians on staff?

Yes, there are two female physicians on staff at ECSM. Dr. Anne-Marie Marcoux is board certified with the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery and has more than 20 years experience in her field. She has been with the ECSM since 2006. Dr. Angela Frates is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association and American College of Physicians. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.


10. Can I request a specific physician for a procedure?

Requests are honored based on each patient’s medical needs.


11. What about the support staff? Who are they?

Currently, we have four endoscopy technicians, nine registered nurses, two clerical staff, a clinical director, and administrative director, for a total of 18 support staff members.


12. Does ECSM only treat patients whose doctor is affiliated with St. Mary Medical Center? Or, can anyone be a patient?

We welcome patients from all over Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Patients can be referred to ECSM by primary physicians and specialists from St. Mary Medical center, as well as those who are not directly affiliated with St. Mary Medical Center.


13. Do I need to be referred by a physician?

No, a physician referral is not always required. You may contact the office directly to learn more about our Open Access Scheduling. One of our nurses will review your information and let you know your procedure options.


14. What insurance providers do you accept?

We participate with a variety of insurance carriers including (AETNA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Bravo, Cigna, Medicare, Tricare, and United Healthcare.)


15. What if a patient does not have insurance? Is there a payment plan option or financial assistance available?

We work out payment options with each patient on an individual basis. In addition, we accept cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Novus, and American Express cards.


16. What does “endoscopy” mean?

Endoscopy means to look inside.


17. What is an endoscopy procedure?

Endoscopy is a procedure that looks inside the body using an endoscope -- a flexible viewing tube with lenses. The scope has a small camera with a light on one end. Through fiber-optic technology and a video computer chip, the endoscope allows the physician to examine the inside of the body by transmitting an image to a video screen.


18. What types of procedures are offered at ECSM? And why are they important?

We offer several procedures at the ECSM including colonoscopy, dilatation, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and upper endoscopy. All are used to detect and resolve any abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to cancer screening, endoscopy is also used to remove foreign bodies from the airways or gastrointestinal tract, to check for areas of abnormal bleeding, and to perform minor surgical procedures.

• Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy allows a physician to examine the lining of the colon (large bowel) for abnormalities. A flexible tube is inserted through the rectum and slowly advanced through the colon as the physician checks for polyps and other abnormal structures. Generally, polyps are removed and sent for biopsy. Tissue samples of the colon lining may also be collected and sent for laboratory analysis.

• Dilation: There are a number of dilating techniques available to the physician. Simple bougie dilatation may be done in the office, in a sitting position, and with only an anesthetic spray of the throat. If endoscopy is performed at the same time, then it will be done in the endoscopy suite, usually under sedation. If X-ray fluoroscopy equipment is needed, the procedure is performed in the X-ray unit. Simple bougie dilatation may take only a few minutes. The other techniques require 20 to 30 minutes. Recovery is usually quick and the patient can soon begin eating and drinking to test the effectiveness of the treatment.

• Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This procedure allows the physician to examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine) by inserting a flexible tube about the thickness of a finger into the anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and lower part of the colon.

• Upper Endoscopy: An upper endoscopy is the examination of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). The physician will use a thin, flexible endoscope that will allow him or her to view images from the patient’s gastrointestinal tract on a high definition video monitor.


19. How much time does a typical procedure take, from preparation to completion?

The length of preparation time differs by patient, procedure, and physician. We do offer a half-day preparation in which you can prepare in the morning and have the procedure completed in the afternoon. The average recovery time is about 45 minutes, depending on the individual patient’s medical condition and specific needs.

Upper Endoscopy

The only preparation for the upper endoscopy typically is that you will have nothing to eat or drink for at least 6 hours prior to the start of the procedure. You will be asked to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time. After the procedure you will be in recovery for approximately 45 minutes. We generally tell our patients to allow 2 hours for the entire process.


The preparation for the colonoscopy usually begins the morning before. Preparation instructions are given to you by your physician’s office. Generally you will have only clear liquids the day before your test. You will be given a strong laxative to clean out your colon. The day of the procedure you will be asked to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time, and after the procedure you will be in recovery for approximately 45 minutes. We generally tell our patients to allow 2 hours for the entire process.


20. Can I drive myself home after my procedure?

No. Patients should not drive for at least 24 hours after their procedure. We require a family member or friend to take patients home.


21. What about recovery time?

Recovery time varies by the patient. We keep all patients who have received sedation a minimum of 30 minutes after the procedure. You are not allowed to drive or do any activity that requires coordination or balance for 24 hours after the procedure. Most people are able to return to work the day after the procedure. Generally patients are allowed to resume a normal diet after their procedure; however you will be given instructions specifically written for you before you are discharged, and they will address these issues based on the specific findings of your procedure.


22. What can I do to prevent colon cancer?

Regular endoscopy screenings can help with detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy encourages everyone over age 50, or those under 50 with a family history or other risk factors, to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer. For more information please visit our Resources and Links.


23. How often should I get a colonoscopy?

According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, a colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years. However, regular screening varies per patient based on age, family medical history, and individual findings.