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Urgent care facility delayed

February 25, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Summit Health indefinitely delayed development of an urgent care center for health needs such as an earache or sprained ankle when it postponed major building projects at Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"We're waiting for the bond market to get better," said Pat Barbarowicz, vice president for community relations at Summit Health.

Norman B. Epstein, the organization's president and CEO, announced in November 2008 the two hospitals' multimillion-dollar building projects would not start this spring.

Eighty percent of respondents from a countywide health needs survey reported a desire for an urgent care center in their community, according to results released this week.

Barbarowicz said the urgent care center hadn't gotten "on the drawing board," and Summit Health leaders hadn't decided whether to expand their existing Greencastle facility or build a new one for the center.

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The Greencastle-Antrim community was chosen several years ago because it has a lot of families with young children, Barbarowicz said. While other areas such as Washington Township have a higher population, they have a higher percentage of retirees, she said.

When presenting the Community Health Needs Assessment, Kenneth N. Schott III highlighted the slides that focused on the urgent care or walk-in center.

"Four-fifths of our survey respondents felt this was a strong need," Schott said, adding 83 percent of those younger than 65 identified it as a need.

Low-income families with children younger than 10 strongly listed the centers as a need, he said.

The urgent care center could serve needs that develop outside a primary physician's regular office hours, Barbarowicz said.

"Because of the global credit crisis, that was put on hold," she said.

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