STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Since the Planned Parenthood in Stroudsburg closed last August, patients have nowhere in the immediate area to receive treatment. That will change by this summer, as a new health care facility moves in to help fill the apparent void.
In 2013, Allen Smith founded Novus ACS in Bethlehem. Originally, it was created as a safe place for the LGBT community to get treatment.
“I was tired of hiding to my provider, and I thought no patient should do that,” says Allen Smith, owner of Novus ACS.
The center now serves the entire community. Novus offers primary care, plus free STD or HIV testing and treatment. Patients can walk in or book an appointment.
“When we opened, we were probably seeing about 50 people a month, now we’re seeing about 1,000 people a month,” Smith explains.
Smith says there’s a huge unmet need. Since last August, he’s seen an uptick. He adds, “we noticed we had a good amount of patients coming from the zip codes up in the Pocono area.”
Novus is now moving in to the former Planned Parenthood location. First, the building is getting a major $250,000 dollar interior makeover.
The goal is to make it warm and welcoming, like Novus’ Bethlehem location. “I expect it will look like the inside of someone’s house,” Smith smiles.
Novus will not provide birth control or abortions.
“If a patient walked in and asked for a referral for an abortion, we would do that but they would do that at any office,” Smith explains.
Smith says about ten percent of tests are coming back positive for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis.
“It’s a very silent epidemic,” he adds.
Novus is leasing the former Planned Parenthood building, but hopes to eventually buy it. The goal is to open in June or July.
Six Novus employees are expected to work in the Stroudsburg location, but the number is expected to grow overtime.
If you have questions about Novus, leaders welcome you to call the Bethlehem office and ask to speak with Allen or Jamie. 1-610-867-5365.