8/3/2010 11:00:00 PM
Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
By BERNARD HARRIS, Staff Writer
SouthEast Lancaster Health Services quietly opened the doors of its new Arch Street clinic on Monday.
A few of the 25-30 patients had appointments. Many did not.
"We had a fair number of people who just showed up," said Susan Adams, SouthEast's chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
The clinic leaders were not surprised. They knew there would be demand for services as soon as the new facility opened in the northwest part of the city.
SouthEast Health Services has handled 50,000 patient visits annually in recent years to its clinic at 625 S. Duke St. That number is expected to diminish — but only slightly — with the opening of the new clinic at 333 N. Arch St.
The Arch Street clinic is expected to have 50,000 visits annually for medical service in its 23 exam rooms. The South Duke Street clinic will remain open. It is expected to have 46,000-47,000 patient visits.
SouthEast also operates on a part-time basis in the Bright Side Opportunities Center on Hershey Avenue. The clinic has about 6,000 patient visits annually there, said Jim Kelly, SouthEast's chief executive officer.
All three clinics will provide medical care, regardless of a patient's ability to pay. The South Duke Street clinic also provides dental care.
With the opening of the Arch Street clinic, plans call for an expansion of dental services. There are now six dental chairs at South Duke Street. Plans call for six or seven additional chairs to be added. Two of those will be designated for pediatric dentistry.
The renovation to the dental area is expected to begin in October, Kelly said, now that SouthEast's administrative offices have moved from that space in South Duke Street to Arch Street. That renovation is expected to be completed in May or June 2011.
More than 60 percent of SouthEast's patients receive some sort of medical assistance, Adams said. While it was important to have the new facility within walking distance of many low-income people in the city, it also was important to be close to a bus route and to have the 100-space parking lot at Arch Street, Kelly said.
Many clinic patients will travel to get there, Kelly said. SouthEast serves patients throughout Lancaster County, with residents from 65 of the county's 67 zip codes represented, he said.
Some of the patients at the Arch Street clinic have come from the closing of James Street Family Medicine. That practice had between 3,000 and 4,000 patients, Kelly said.
James Street Family Medicine was housed within Lancaster General Hospital, which gave SouthEast $2.5 million to buy the former Cimbrian advertising agency building last year.
The more than $1 million in renovation costs for the new facility came from the $3.25 million SouthEast received in federal stimulus money last year. In addition to the facility costs, those funds also paid for an electronic medical records system for the combined clinic.
Kelly said the nonprofit organization is still about $750,000 short of the money needed for the South Duke Street renovation. A capital campaign was started about six months ago. About $100,000 already has been pledged. Raising all the funding will allow the nonprofit to complete both projects debt-free, he said.
One aspect of the renovation is the addition of solar panels to the roof of the Arch Street building. Kelly said the solar panels are expected to provide as much as 40 percent of the clinic's electrical power.
Solar panels also are planned for the renovation to the South Duke Street building.
The "green technology," which was part of the stimulus funding application, is an interesting addition to the Arch Street building, which was built to provide electrical power.
The building was constructed in 1886 by the Edison Electric Illuminating Co., and was the first commercial electricity generator in Lancaster city.