A primary care partner has been chosen to help with the planned WellSpan Dixon Foundation community health and center slated to open in Lebanon in 2019.
Family First Health, a federally qualified health center with six sites in Lancaster, York and Adams counties, was chosen by a community advisory group as the primary care partner for the center, which is expected to expand access to primary care services in Lebanon County, according to a news release.
Family First Health is equipped to help patients address barriers to care that are often experienced by the 30 percent of Lebanon County residents living in poverty, the release states.
WellSpan announced it would build the center last year after receiving a $2 million gift from the Francis J. Dixon Foundation.
The center, with total costs expected to be about $10 million, will improve access to primary care, behavioral health and other essential health and social services in the county, officials said.
The opening of the WellSpan Dixon Foundation Health Center, at Fourth and Willow streets in Lebanon, is scheduled for early 2019.
“Family First understands the social and financial challenges in an urban community and has a solid plan in place to accomplish their goal of providing a foundation of health. Health does not start in a doctor’s office and Family First looks forward to becoming a valuable part of the Lebanon community,” said Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, who is one of the 14 members of the community advisory group that is guiding the development of the health and wellness center, in the release.
The group endorsed the selection of Family First Health as the primary care partner.
In addition to primary care, Family First provides dental care, substance abuse treatment, HIV care and social services.
“The board and leadership of Family First Health is excited about the opportunity to expand our impact into Lebanon County,” said Jenny Englerth, president and chief executive officer of Family First Health in the release.
“By prioritizing the unique needs and strengths of the community and building on existing efforts, we plan to leverage our nearly 50-year history of delivering comprehensive primary care to improve the health of individuals and families who need it most. The intentional and thoughtful work of many, including the Francis J. Dixon Foundation, will help us to accomplish that in Lebanon County.”
Founded in 1970, Family First Health serves over 25,000 residents at six sites in Columbia, Gettysburg, Hanover, Lewisberry and York. The organization cares for all, regardless of ability to pay.
Family First Health has been recognized as a:
• Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Center of Excellence, which ensures that people with opioid-related substance abuse disorder stay in treatment to receive follow-up care.
• Patient-Centered Medical Home, for its model of care that puts patients at the forefront.
• A member of a learning collaborative, offered by the National Council on Behavioral Health, which screens and treats youths who are at risk for substance abuse.
Family First will collaborate with others serving vulnerable populations including, Federally Qualified Health Centers in the area as well as the providers at WellSpan Family Medicine – North Fourth Street, with the shared goal of improving the health of Lebanon County residents.
The selection of Family First Health as the primary care anchor partner is a key step in the planning of the community health and wellness center. The community advisory group and focus groups with Lebanon County residents will continue to help shape the easy-to-navigate, one-stop center for community members who need social and health services.