The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) completed financing for a joint project in northeast Pennsylvania that will expand primary care and opioid treatment while cultivating the next generation of the health care workforce.
The Wright Center for Community Health and its affiliated entity, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, will soon expand to a new 41,900-square-foot facility in Scranton, following PCDC’s $9.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation and $2.5 million in debt financing.
In addition to accommodating 7,000 new patients and creating more than 40 full-time jobs, the project will provide teaching space for accredited residency and fellowship programs — ultimately improving access to care nationwide by training and developing more primary care doctors.
“This considerable investment into our community will empower us to substantially expand access to nondiscriminatory, high-quality, affordable, and integrated health services, while we joyfully train our future physician leaders and interprofessional workforce,” said Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD, FACP, FAAP [pictured], CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health and President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. “PCDC and Wells Fargo’s generous investments in this project validate their collective commitment to a brighter, healthier future for Scranton and America. We are grateful for their commitment to making this important new community asset a reality.”
When the project is completed, patients will have access to integrated primary care, nutrition counseling, HIV services, dental, behavioral health and addiction counseling, and OB/GYN and women’s health care under one roof. The practice will be open seven days a week and some evenings to accommodate patient schedules.
In response to Pennsylvania’s growing opioid crisis, The Wright Center for Community Health became a designated Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence (OUD-COE) in 2016 and, due to its success as an OUD-COE, was designated as a Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication-Assisted Treatment (PacMAT) program in 2018. As a PacMAT, The Wright Center for Community Health supports a network of local practices through training and mentorship, collectively expanding access to life-saving addiction treatment to a largely rural and underserved population.
Currently serving nearly 20,000 patients across eight locations in northeast Pennsylvania, The Wright Center for Community Health recently became the first practice in the country to be awarded NCQA School-Based Medical Home recognition — a designation developed in part by PCDC.
This project is strategically located: Scranton is designated as a Medically Underserved Area by the federal government. Over 41 percent of Scranton residents qualify as low-income, and of those, 87 percent do not regularly access primary care services. Because The Wright Center for Community Health sees patients regardless of their ability to pay, the new facility is expected to have a significant, positive impact on the area.
“The Scranton location will bring quality care to thousands, create high-paying local jobs, and further The Wright Center for Community Health’s larger mission,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director of Capital Investment at PCDC. “PCDC wholeheartedly supports their excellent work, and we are glad to be part of their continued success and growth.”