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State grant to aid Excela plans for orthopedic center in Hempfield

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:36 p.m.

Excela Health has received a $3 million state grant to pay for the design and construction of an orthopedic treatment center in Hempfield, according to the state.

Now, all the Greensburg-based health-care system has to do is find a location to build the facility, an Excela spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Excela was awarded a state Economic Growth Initiative Grant to construct a 125,000-square-foot building that will house the surgical center as well as facilities for diagnosis and rehabilitation. The center will accommodate surgeons, rheumatologists, physical therapists, radiologists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

“We were very pleased and pleasantly surprised,” said Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings. “We were told there were $1 billion in requests and they only funded $133 million. The fact that we got $3 million feels very good.”

The problem for Excela remains finding a suitable location, Jennings said. She said the system hadn't selected a site when Excela filed the grant application.

A site along Route 30 in Hempfield near Sam's Club had been considered, but a dispute between the owners prevented Excela from acquiring the property. The property is now under new ownership.

Excela Chief Executive Officer Robert Rogalski cited the need for additional orthopedic resources in the region.

He said having this type of center will help the system attract new physicians to the community.

State Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, said Excela is the county's largest employer with 4,600 jobs. The orthopedic center project could create another 110 positions and indirectly create an additional 198, Ward said.

“It is important that we continue to work on increasing access to care while lowering costs for Westmoreland County families,” she said.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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