Oct. 28—Lackawanna County will likely start moving equipment for its medical clinic into a temporary Moses Taylor Hospital location as early as next week, a key county official said.
When the clinic can begin operating will depend on how soon the state Department of Human Services certifies the county Department of Health as ready to go, said William Browning, county director of health and human services.
"We can't even apply (for certification) until everything is 100% ready," Browning said.
At their Oct. 18 meeting, the county commissioners approved a one-year lease for 1,626 square feet inside the hospital, 700 Quincy Ave., Scranton. The rent is $2,032.50 a month and the lease lasts from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31, 2024.
The county needs a temporary location because the permanent one, a former credit union at 315 Franklin Ave., Scranton, won't be ready until next year. In August, the commissioners awarded a $1.584 million contract to Mar-Paul Co. Inc., of Jessup, to convert the former credit union's basement and part of the first floor for the medical clinic.
The basement will include exam rooms, a nurse's station, a vaccine supply room, a tuberculosis isolation room, medical offices and bathrooms. The city Single Tax Office will take up the rest of the first floor with a drive-thru window for paying property taxes. The tax office hopes to move there from the Government Center in late November, Scranton Tax Collector Cathy Wechsler said.
Creating the temporary medical clinic will also help the department clear a hurdle necessary for state certification. The department must have all its staff hired and equipment in place before applying.
Browning expects the county to apply later in November.
Once the county applies, the state has 30 days to review. If the application contains deficiencies, the county has 30 days to correct them.
Except for sexually transmitted diseases, the free medical clinic won't treat illness, Browning said. Rather, staff will test for diseases and vaccinate people who can't afford the care otherwise.
The testing includes AIDS, lead poisoning, rabies, anthrax, chickenpox, diphtheria, giardiasis, hepatitis, other sexually transmitted diseases and other diseases and maladies on a list of about 75 reportable diseases. The vaccines includes polio, measles, mumps, rubella, flu and others. Staff will refer patients with most illnesses for treatment elsewhere.
"The whole purpose of a ... county or state Department of Health is to prevent the spread of disease," Browning said. "So we want to make sure there's no barrier. So if you have an STD, we want you to get treated.
"If you have tuberculosis, you want to get treated immediately. Those kinds of things. If you need a vaccine, we want to make sure you have access to that even if you don't have insurance."
Hospital helps out
Browning said he chose Moses Taylor for the temporary clinic because it's easy to reach and has parking. Several County of Lackawanna Transit System buses also run by the hospital.
Annmarie Poslock, a spokeswoman for Commonwealth Health, which owns Moses Taylor, said the system was happy to help.
"The county health department had a need for space while construction is completed on their building downtown. Moses Taylor has available and appropriate space for their needs. We are pleased to work with the county to help serve our community," she said.
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