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Grant will help expand health center services

| Sunday, March 2, 2014, 9:37 p.m.

Connellsville's Wesley Church Health Center has been awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health allowing it to expand its health care services to those without insurance.

Wesley is at 410 S. Pittsburgh St. It is Fayette County's only free clinic.

Marilyn Weaver, executive director, said the matching funds grant of $13,343 from the Department of Health and health center funds of $3,336 will provide services of $16,679 for those who do not have a “family doctor” and who do not have health insurance. The length of the grant is for one-and-a-half years. WHC pays the bill and sends the paperwork to the department of health for reimbursement.

Weaver said the grant will help set up working agreements with the area's three hospitals, Excela Frick in Mt. Pleasant, Highlands in Connellsville and Uniontown Hospital.

“The work has already begun,” said Weaver. “Uniontown Hospital contacted us before we were notified of the grant.

“Mainly, it is for those patients who are using the emergency rooms for their primary care physicians.”

Weaver said Uniontown Hospital has already been sending patients to WHC. The center uses nurse practitioners to provide medical services.

“We do have collaborative agreements already with Adagio Health of Uniontown for women's wellness,” she said. “Then, right next door, we have Connellsville Counselling and Psychiatry Services.”

Weaver said the service provided by WHC has saved the hospital emergency rooms time and money and should reduce the strain of patient overload at the hospitals.

Among the advantages the grant may provide is a more efficient, electronic exchange of patient information between WHC and the doctors at the three hospitals.

Excela Frick has been doing all of the blood analysis for a number of years. Dr. John Ellis of Connellsville has been seeing to the patients needing eye care and dental care is being provided by Dr. Francis Jacobyansky through WHC.

Weaver said WHC recently received a machine for retinal eye screenings through the Connellsville Lions Club. The funds came from a Lions International grant through Hamburg, Germany.

The results from the retinal tests are sent to a UPMC doctor, who reviews them and sends the results back. If the patient needs treatment, it can be done at UPMC Mercy.

Presently, the WHC provides services to more than 650 residents. Weaver said the organization is in its 21st year of operation.

“Our doors have never closed,” said Weaver.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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