(Generocity file photo)
The Stephen Klein Wellness Center opened almost two months ago, and signs of its newness are everywhere. Medical machines are still wrapped in plastic. Scaffolding still sits in the main lobby. Makeshift signs hang on the walls.
The public health center, located at 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, broke ground in January 2014 and was finished in less than a year. Members of the community can now use the facility, but there is still much to be done.
The center was created by Project HOME, a homeless service provider, in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., Jefferson Medical College Department of Family and Community Medicine, The Middleton Partnership, and local real estate developer and namesake of the facility Stephen Klein. It provides primary medical care, psychiatric services, assistance in accessing public benefits as well as variety of other outreach and counseling services.
Over the next year, Project HOME and its partners will be adding new services and growing capacity at the center. On the docket: a pharmacy and a dental care facility.
The dental care unit will have nine “operatories” — essentially exam rooms for dental care — and will be run by its own director, set to be hired in the coming months.
“[Dental care] is definitely an unmet need in this community, probably even more than medical care, because the public benefits reimbursement for dental care is pretty low, so not a lot of dentists take patients with public benefits,” said Greg Landistratis, director of operations of the center. (For more information, here is 2008 report on the problem.)
The pharmacy will operate under the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which allows eligible health care organizations to provide outpatient drugs at reduced prices. Only patients of the center will be able to use the pharmacy. Having the pharmacy within the center allows patients to meet much of their health needs at a single location, Landistratis said, a benefit most doctor’s offices do not provide.
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The pharmacy and dental office will be operational by this summer. As for future additions to the facility, it will depends on what patients need.
“A lot of it is needs-based,” Landistratis said.
One anticipated change will be an increase in the number of homeless patients. Currently 40 percent of the patient population is homeless, according to Landistratis. Project HOME’s goal is to raise that percentage, in effort to serve as many homeless as possible, he said.
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