Health care services in Wayne County just got a healthy dose of help from the federal government.
Officials at Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers said they were awarded roughly $1.4 million under the new federal Affordable Care Act.
In Honesdale, people are thrilled.
“Oh that's awesome,” said Karllina Schmidt. “We live in Hawley and I use Wayne Memorial. The kids go to the doctor here so I have both my kids there, so I think it's great.”
“I think it's great because they're giving us our money back because it's our tax dollars that might have gone someplace else. It's nice to have it stay close to home,” said Mike O'Day.
Officials at Wayne Memorial said the funds will be used to expand and improve doctors' offices and clinics, including the offices at the Stourbridge Mall on Route 6.
“We're providing primary care there,” said Wayne Memorial Chief Financial Officer Mike Cliffords. “We've got behavioral health clinics as well and we've got a group of surgeons working for Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers up at the mall.”
Officials said they were awarded the grant because medical services are in high demand in this area.
Wayne Memorial is the only provider in the area to win the grant.
“The applicants for the grant were very, very competitive,” said Cliffords. “Very few grants were given out. I believe there were only four organizations in Pennsylvania that got them.”
Officials said receiving the money is timely with the closing of Marian Community Hospital in February, which was located about 14 miles away in Carbondale. Since then, demand for service at the Wayne Memorial’s Honesdale offices has increased.
“We have seen an increase on both the inpatient and outpatient side,” said Cliffords. “You hear folks from the Carbondale Community say they're going to Wayne County, to Honesdale for their care.”
The funds will not be used at Wayne Memorial Hospital because the grant was written for money to be used specifically at community health centers, or CHC’s. However, officials said the grant will free up money Wayne Memorial already has for use at the hospital and other facilities.