NANTICOKE — Another Geisinger health care site in Luzerne County also is a shot in the arm for Nanticoke’s revitalization.
Patients have been coming in to the Geisinger-Nanticoke family practice center since late November. On Thursday, the health care system and local officials made it official with speeches, a ribbon-cutting and an open house.
State Sen. John Yudichak, who was among the speakers during the brief ceremony, characterized the nearly $4 million center at 128 E. Main St. as another part of the plan to aid Nanticoke’s ailing downtown.
He said local officials came together 10 years ago to put together a plan to revitalize the city. The health care facility joins Luzerne County Community College’s adjacent Health Sciences Center and the nearby Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute in the city’s downtown.
“This is what we dreamed of 10 years ago,” Yudichak, who is from Nanticoke, told the small crowd from behind a podium.
He credited Nanticoke Mayor Rich Wiaterowski and other city officials, state Rep. Gerald Mullery, as well as Geisinger President Dr. Glenn Steele and Lee Meyers, Geisinger vice president for community practice, for making the center a reality.
The $3.8 million clinic is the 11th such Geisinger clinic in Luzerne County. Dr. John Gardner, Geisinger’s community practice director for Luzerne County, said after the ceremony Geisinger plans to open a new family practice clinic in Mountain Top in late spring.
He said enactment of the Affordable Care Act, which requires everyone to have health insurance, has not led to opening more clinics than planned.
“Perhaps there will be more patients,” he said, which could result in adding more physicians at some future point.
Geisinger Health System broke ground in November 2012 for the 12,000-square-foot Nanticoke facility. It opened Nov. 25, 2013. It features an adult primary care unit on the second floor and pediatric clinic on the first, as well as on-site laboratory services. The center includes 11 adult care examination rooms, six pediatric examination rooms and a procedure room.
The center employs 13, including physicians Susan Werner, M.D., and Jon Olenginski, D.O.; physician assistant Lindsey McGeehan; pediatricians Marie Grabowski, M.D., and Shaifali Gupta, M.D., as well as nurses, a phlebotomist and administrative staff.