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Keystone Health expanding into new facility

December 10, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- An $11.5 million grant awarded to Keystone Health through federal stimulus dollars will be used to build a facility that will hold three existing practices and two new services, the center's president and CEO said Thursday.

Franklin County Pediatrics, Keystone Women's Care and Keystone Internal Medicine will move from leased buildings to a new, 45,800-square foot facility on Fifth Avenue. President and CEO Joanne Cochran said Keystone Health will open its own pharmacy and an urgent care center there.

"The grant is a wonderful, wonderful thing for the community," Cochran said.

Keystone Health serves the general population, but it has a special focus on vulnerable populations like the uninsured. It was founded in 1986 to serve seasonal and migrant farm workers.

Today, the organization offers federally discounted pharmaceuticals, employs providers in a variety of specialties and provides resources for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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"We treat anyone and everyone in the community. ... We don't want anyone falling through the cracks," Cochran said.

Keystone Health serves 52,000 patients a year. Figures vary by service, but Cochran said, on average, half of the patients have no insurance or use medical assistance.

Keystone Health received two other grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The first, for $439,000, was used to hire providers and support staff. The second, a $1.64 million grant, allowed Keystone Health to expand dental and behavioral health offerings.

Cochran said the latest grant application was highly competitive, with more than 1,000 applicants. A press release from U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey said six community health centers in Pennsylvania were awarded a total of $28.6 million.

The high percentage of uninsured residents in Franklin County established need, Cochran said.

"We're anxious to get started. ... All of my sites are bursting at the seams because we're so busy," she said, saying the construction project will be sent out for bid soon.

Keystone Health is a separate entity from the Summit Health system, which operates Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals. Cochran described the organizations as having a close working relationship.

The urgent care center would be the first in Franklin County.

"We will be able to see more people who need to see us," Cochran said.

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