WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It seems making an appointment with a specialist is more frustrating than ever, from trying to track one down, or waiting a long-time for an appointment.
But a local health care network is taking a big step to do something about that.
As a life flight helicopter landed atop Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center Wednesday afternoon, progress on a new development was being made below it. One that aims to make specialty care more accessible.
“Our hospitals are full. Our outpatient clinics are full, and we’re doing everything we possibly can to meet the needs of our community here in northeast Pennsylvania,” Geisinger Northeast associate vice president of clinical operations Dan Landesberg said.
To address growing demand, Geisinger is constructing a 160,000 square-foot facility on its hospital campus. It will house more than a dozen specialties, including neurosurgery, pulmonology and pediatric neurology.
“The services that are going to practice here in this medical office building are those that really need to be near the hospital everyday. So, the physicians that see patients in this outpatient building will easily be able to get across the street if they have to do surgery or see a patient in the hospital,” Landesberg said.
Geisinger officials say the expansion will allow patients to get the care they need close to home.
“Part of what we’ve done with this building is, we’ve expanded those programs that people are waiting for right now and people are leaving and going to other markets for. So this allows us to make sure that they have a convenient place to go, it’s easy to get to, and they can be seen in a timely manner,” Geisinger chief administrative officer Ron Beer said.
Geisinger hopes to see increased appointment availability as 20 physicians and 50 support staff members are expected to be hired.
“We know how frustrating it is to want to try to access the care and to be told that the appointments are going to be in the future, or you can’t get it when you want it. We think that this is going to add at least 70,000 new visits a year for us,” chief medical officer for surgical services and cardiothoracic surgeon Alfred Casale said.
Geisinger’s medical office building is expected to be completed by late 2023.