Health care cen­ter near com­ple­tion

Green­field Twp. fa­cil­ity caters to pa­tients in ru­ral parts of two coun­ties.

The Times-Tribune - - LOCAL - BY FRANK WILKES LESNEFSKY STAFF WRITER

Three years after a Green­field Twp. man lost his life in a car ac­ci­dent, a health cen­ter in his honor is near­ing com­ple­tion.

When staff at the An­drew C. Mazza Me­mo­rial Health Cen­ter be­gan see­ing pa­tients in April, the build­ing was only about half fin­ished. Since then, staff have han­dled more than 1,300 pa­tient vis­its in the two exam rooms and a be­hav­ioral health room.

Con­struc­tion on the sec­ond half of the cen­ter at 127 Route 106 in Green­field Twp. is slated to be com­pleted within two months, said NEPA Com­mu­nity Health Care CEO Mary Wether­all. The work will add a triage room, two ad­di­tional exam rooms for pri­mary care, three ad­di­tional of­fices for men­tal health and a den­tal exam room with four spa­ces, she added.

Al­though con­struc­tion will be fin­ished on the den­tal room, the equip­ment is still be­ing fab­ri­cated, and the cen­ter ex­pects to in­stall it in the fall, Wether­all said.

“Ev­ery­thing just takes so much time,” she said.

The cen­ter, which caters to ru­ral pa­tients in north­ern Lack­awanna and south­ern Susque­hanna coun­ties, came to fruition after the com­mu­nity ral­lied to­gether, rais­ing nearly $90,000 to help fund the project in honor of An­drew Mazza. The 23-yearold died in a car crash in Fe­bru­ary 2016 when a ve­hi­cle he was rid­ing in went over an em­bank­ment and over­turned in a stream in Gib­son Twp. Trapped in the car, Mazza held an­other pas­sen­ger above wa­ter in a pocket of air.

For Phillip Mazza, see­ing the health cen­ter bear­ing his son’s name be­ing so close to com­ple­tion is “fan­tas­tic.”

“We planted the seed a cou­ple years ago. It’s good to see it grow,” he said. “We al­ways knew that there was a need in the gen­eral area, and I think it’s a very good thing that you don’t have to travel far for health care.”

The health cen­ter of­fers pri­mary care for new­borns through the el­derly, psy­chi­atric care and be­hav­ioral health ser­vices, Wether­all said, adding that they are also be­gin­ning a med­i­ca­tionas­sisted treat­ment pro­gram for those strug­gling with ad­dic­tion.

Right now, the cen­ter em­ploys nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing two full-time reg­is­tered nurses, a full-time li­censed clin­i­cal so­cial worker, a psy­chi­atric nurse prac­ti­tioner and a physi­cian, she said. By this time next year, Wether­all hopes to have added an­other full-time nurse prac­ti­tioner and about eight den­tal work­ers, in­clud­ing at least one den­tist and var­i­ous den­tal hy­gien­ists and as­sis­tants.

From start to fin­ish, con­struc­tion of the cen­ter will to­tal about $450,000, Wether­all es­ti­mated. The Moses Tay­lor Foun­da­tion com­mit­ted $300,000 in grant fund­ing to pay for the ex­pan­sion.

NEPA Com­mu­nity Health Care is also work­ing with Tem­ple Univer­sity to bring den­tal stu­dents and res­i­dents to the cen­ter to pro­vide ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in a ru­ral area with the even­tual hope of bring­ing more health care pro­fes­sion­als to the re­gion, she said.

Al­though Dawn Ziegler re­signed from her seat as vice pres­i­dent of NEPA Com­mu­nity Health Care’s board of di­rec­tors, she “couldn’t be more proud” of how the cen­ter has grown. Ziegler, who knew An­drew Mazza, orig­i­nally pro­posed the idea to build a health cen­ter in his honor.

“It’s an over­whelm­ing feel­ing,” she said, adding that she hopes peo­ple will think of Mazza when they go to the cen­ter. “It’s a place of well­ness and heal­ing.”

Con­tact the writer: flesnef­[email protected]­rock.com; 570-348-9100 x5181; @flesnef­skytt on Twit­ter

JAKE DANNA STEVENS / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Mary Wether­all, the CEO of NEPA Com­mu­nity Health Care, stands in what will house a doc­tor’s of­fice, two psy­chi­a­try and be­hav­ioral health rooms, a den­tal room and three more exam rooms at the An­drew C. Mazza Me­mo­rial Health Cen­ter in Green­field Twp.

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