The Wright Medicine: Honoring Primary Health Care Providers | Community columns

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To say I’m proud of the collective work we do at the Wright Centers for Community Health and Higher Medical Education is a monumental understatement.

With National Health Centers Week taking place August 7-13 in a country plagued by public health challenges, notable health and healthcare disparities, and a well-documented labor shortage work in primary care, now seems like the perfect opportunity to showcase the many ways our Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium is fulfilling its mission to improve the health of residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania as well as communities across the country. through our nationwide partnerships and learning networks with federally accredited health centers.

During National Health Center Week, community-based primary health care providers across the country are encouraged to celebrate their shared mission. We are truly privileged to serve patients, families and communities with a wide range of primary health care services, which are continually evolving and available to residents of all ages, regardless of zip code, insurance status or their ability to pay.

Since 1976, the Wright Center has trained interprofessional physicians and students while providing non-discriminatory, high-quality primary health care services locally – beginning with our predecessor, the Scranton Temple Residency program. Things at the Wright Center have evolved accordingly since those humble beginnings, when we served a small population and had only six internal medicine residents in training annually. Today, we have more than 650 employees, including nearly 250 trainee physicians in eight residency and fellowship programs.

We train community-minded physicians in the disciplines of internal and family medicine, geriatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, addiction medicine, cardiovascular disease, and gastro- enterology. Together, we deliver a powerful mission to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired and skilled workforce.

Three years ago, we celebrated the most important day in our history when the United States Health Resources and Services Administration designated the Wright Center for Community Health as a federally licensed health center look-alike.

As FQLA, we have access to federal resources that have allowed us to expand our primary health care teams, maintain our top-notch staff, and improve our mission-driven primary health care services. This federal designation has allowed us to significantly expand our clinical services to include comprehensive oral, mental and behavioral health services, while operating multiple clinical sites in Archbald/Jermyn, Clarks Summit, Kingston, Hawley and Moscow, our state. -of-the-art clinic within the Scranton Counseling Center and our hub on South Washington Avenue in Scranton.

Given their strategic location, focused on public health needs in regions with complex health needs, high poverty rates, and/or a lack of private or non-profit health systems and hospitals, the Federally licensed community health centers like ours provide first-rate primary health care service. lower cost services for the patient and the community. The Wright Center follows a patient-centered home medical care delivery model, emphasizing overcoming geographic, cultural, linguistic and other barriers to care by providing coordinated and comprehensive services, including primary care. and preventative, behavioral health, school-based health, geriatrics, infectious disease services, dental care, lifestyle medicine, and drug addiction services to patients of all ages and insurance statuses.

Through this full spectrum of care, we strive to reduce health care disparities with a focus on managed care and a coordinated referral network for patients with complex health care needs, by leveraging the use of continuous quality improvement practices and the relentless promotion of health information technology and its interoperability. .

We also offer our 34-foot mobile medical and dental unit, Driving Better Health, which is equipped with two medical examination rooms that also provide dental offices to expand our capabilities to provide comprehensive primary and oral health care.

We are proudly increasing our long-term investment in our regional community. I am truly delighted with the progress made in more than 46 years of service. There is clearly still a lot of work to be done to improve the health and well-being of our local, regional and national communities, but we are very pleased and privileged at the Wright Center to work tirelessly to meet the challenge.

Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD, a quadruple board-certified primary care physician in pediatrics, internal medicine, addiction medicine, and obesity medicine, leads the Wright Center for Community Health as CEO and is president of the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. She lives with her family and practices primary care in Jermyn. Send your medical questions to [email protected]

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