KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – One of the fastest-growing segments of society is the senior population.
Roughly 10,000 Americans each day turn 65 years old. This aging demographic requires unique medical needs.
In less than three years, more than a third of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. A regional health system believes it has the answer to meeting the medical challenge that comes with seniors. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller checked out its newest program on Thursday.
A real problem these days for seniors is finding a physician who can provide more than quality care.
“I do think everybody needs a little more time than 15 minutes with their primary care,” said 86-year-old Jane Ann Uzdilla.
The Hanover Township woman was among the crowd checking out the grand opening of Geisinger’s new 65 Forward Health Center on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston. It caters only to patients 65 and older who often have chronic diseases.
“Having one physician in one clinic that concentrates on senior citizens is just awesome,” said Bobbie Roberts.
Dr. James Tricarico is the first primary care physician on board at Geisinger 65 Forward Health Center. He and other staff doctors will limit their patient loads to 450 each or about a fifth of the typical primary care practice.
“We have the flexibility in our schedule to accommodate those needs as they are. We can do longer visits, 40 minutes, 60 minutes, 20 minutes depending on what those patients’ needs are,” said Dr. Tricarico.
If the inside of the facility looks unlike your typical doctor’s office, you’re right. It features a fitness room, space for wellness programs and even social activities like bridge and book clubs and arts and crafts.
Geisinger Health System President/CEO Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD said, “I think that’s going to contribute to people staying healthy, too, because sometimes just interacting with each other and having a place to come socialize and chit-chat and grab a coffee and a snack, I think that’s the idea behind this model.”
It’s also free for patients with Geisinger Health Plan Insurance like Ms. Roberts. The Thornhurst Township woman said, “I think this is a huge benefit to senior citizens.” Ms. Uzdilla who decided to enroll added, “It makes me think I’m going to have an easier life going forward.”
A Geisinger 65 Forward location will open in Scranton October 1 at 3 Olive Plaza. A half-dozen facilities total should be open throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania by the end of 2020.