Providing greater healthcare access in the community


JERMYN, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s a given that having health insurance is vital to the well-being of adults and children. But it’s estimated at least 15 percent of American adults are without it. That inability to cover medical costs can deprive them of critical services.

Being uninsured or underinsured can present serious cost-related problems getting care. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a local primary care provider which already provides health care regardless of ability to pay is expanding its effort to help more within the community.

Having healthy teeth is important to 12-year-old Wilson Marquez. “So they don’t fall out and so I can keep them and have a good smile.” But dental checkups aren’t the only reason why the Mayfield boy visits The Wright Center for Community Health Mid Valley in Jermyn. “I come here for the doctors and they will give me medicine to help me if I’m sick.”

He is just one of the many patients of The Wright Center which provides dental, primary and behavioral healthcare services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The Wright Center For Community Health Mid Valley Governance Officer Helayna Szescila said, “Unfortunately, some families don’t have those resources.”

Too many according to this community-based health care provider which is why The Wright Center achieved certain benchmarks to earn designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike or FQLA. It means The Wright Center meets the Health Resources and Services Administration requirements but does not receive HRSA funding.

The designation will allow greater federal reimbursement rates for a center serving the insured and uninsured alike. The Wright Center for Community Health Mid Valley Board Member Ellen Walko said, “Having this FQLA status now allows us to really expand on that. I mean we have in the past but now we’re going to be able to expand the community services and the amount of people that we’ll be able to get in here.” Ms. Szescila added, “That’s extremely important for this community to offer the services to people that can’t afford to get quality care.”

The Wright Center for Community Health has facilities throughout Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. It’s scheduled to open a new location in South Scranton this summer.

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