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Health Care Provider Aims To Open Clinic In Greenfield Twp.

August 2, 2017 GMT

GREENFIELD TWP. — NEPA Community Health Care is raising money to open a clinic for people who live in rural sections of northern Lackawanna and southern Susquehanna counties.

The goal is to open a facility that offers primary care, behavioral, psychiatric and ancillary lab services such as X-rays and sonograms to underserved residents, Mary Wetherall, the nonprofit organization’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday.

For primary care, Carbondale-based Dr. Lakshmi Mizin would base her practice there along with another provider, physician or nurse practitioner. Mental health staff would include a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner, along with a clinical social worker.

In all, Wetherall envisions the health care center employing about a dozen professional and support staff, and supplementing its offerings by bringing in obstetrics and gynecology services once per week.

NEPA Community Health Care currently has three facilities in Susquehanna County: in Montrose, Hallstead and Susquehanna. Its clinics are federally qualified health centers, meaning it has a sliding-fee schedule for people who can’t afford health care, do not have insurance or are not eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

The region NEPA Community Health Care is targeting includes Carbondale, Forest City, Jermyn, Union Dale, Lenoxville and Clifford Twp. The combined area has a low-income population of 10,020, with 6,140 low-income residents not accessing health services, according to data from the Robert Graham Center.

“When you live in an area that doesn’t have public transportation and you don’t have a good car, 10 miles might as well be 100,” Wetherall said.

Dawn Ziegler, a member of NEPA Community Health Care’s board of directors, said she hears from people every day who want a doctor’s office in the area, and significant community support has coalesced around the idea — with supporters already raising about $60,000.

The fundraising target is $500,000 to cover renovations and other startup costs. Between donations and money NEPA Community Health Care set aside, the operation has roughly $125,000 dedicated to the goal so far, Wetherall said.

Fundraising efforts will continue, and the nonprofit is also applying for state grant funding.

NEPA Community Health Care leaders intend to name the clinic after Andrew Mazza, a 23-year-old township resident who died in a Feb. 21, 2016, car crash.

Greenfield Twp. supervisors agreed Tuesday to grant the nonprofit a conditional use permit under the zoning ordinance to use a building that was once a dance hall and a roller rink at 127 Route 106 as a health care center.

Supervisor Bruce Evans said township residents still feel the void from Marian Community Hospital’s closure in early 2012.

“Anything that brings help to the people and builds up our community is welcome,” he said.

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