Friday, September 29, 2023

Delay Healthy Center Opening in January

By Christine Cote

COURT HOUSE — Those without health insurance hoping to visit the new Community Health Center here for treatment will have to wait until next year. Luckily, next year is just weeks away.
Although Community Health Care, Inc. (CHC) anticipated its facility, on Route 9 in the former Burdette Tomlin Imaging, would be open early this month, CEO and President Gilbert Walter told the Herald Monday that the center will be opening in early January. He had no firm date.
When it opens it will be staffed by Director Rita Maroldo who will also serve as a nurse practitioner for the facility and a part-time family physician, said Walter, who referred to Maroldo as a “player-coach.”
She is still in the process of interviewing and accepting applications for other staff mem-bers, Maroldo said.
Initially open from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. three days a week, there will also be LPNs and certified medical assistants on hand as support staff.
The minute those initial hours are booked, said Walter, “we’ll add afternoons and then additional days.”
Walter said they are waiting for licensing by the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and “should know by Christmas.”
The license will be for an ambulatory care facility, but Burdette was licensed for diagnostic care and the health center needs a license for primary care. Approval “should be routine,” he added.
Although the center received funding in August from DHSS, Walter said the lease with Burdette needed to be negotiated and “a lot of other milestones” crossed before licensing could be sought.
Burdette is completely out of the building and has an application before the Middle Town-ship Zoning Board tomorrow night for approval of the change of use and site plan waiver since there are no physical change.
CHC has a three-year lease with Burdette, which is automatic renewable, said Walter.
Exam rooms have been set up, said Maroldo, and they are moving things in daily.
Although only medical services will be offered initially, by April, Walter said, dental and other services should be available.
“We are there to take care of people who are health underserved,” he said, which usually translates into the uninsured. But he said someone may have Medicaid but cannot find den-tal services in the county with that program.
The initial visit will be free and after obtaining information from patients, a $20 co-pay may be required for future visits, he said.
“We are looking forward to having this access point for people, said Walter. He said he wants to “encourage all employers, church leaders and other community leaders,” to spread the word about the facility.
In about three weeks there will be brochures about the center at all public offices and in business locations, said Maroldo.
“We have a phone number,” she said. It’s 465-0258 but it’s not hooked up just yet. But “in three weeks it should be a go,” she said. When it works, people can call to make ap-pointments.
Walk-in-ins will also be accepted and services will be available for children and adults of any age.
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