By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, special to the Leader Herald.
First published in print: Friday, August 28, 2009
PERTH – Driven by what they say is a need for more primary care in the area, Nathan Littauer Hospital officials celebrated a groundbreaking Thursday at the hospital’s primary care site here in preparation for an expansion of the facility.
The facility on Route 30 has been open for about two years and has had more than 11,000 patient visits. While it began with five medical providers, it now houses 11 and has become crowded, said Nathan Littauer Chief Executive Officer Laurence E. Kelly. Some providers are sharing offices, he said.
The expansion will add 2,000 square feet onto the existing building and will allow the facility to house more doctors and offer mammography services, Kelly said.
Hospital officials and dignitaries took up ceremonial shovels and dug up chunks of turf Thursday. Kelly said the shovel he used was the same one he wielded at the first groundbreaking for the facility two years ago.
Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, was on hand for groundbreaking.
He said the popularity of the facility shows the strong need for primary care in more rural areas and called the expansion good for the “overall health of the community.”
With a facility close by, people are less likely to put off addressing health problems, Butler said.
“This is a great contribution to the community,” he said.
Officials from Crossroads Incubator Corp., which erected the original clinic building and will be doing the expansion, were at the ceremony. The CIC, the real estate branch of the Fulton County Economic Development Corp., will continue to lease the property to Littauer.
The CIC’s Peter Sciocchetti said he expects the work to be done within about four months.
Fulton County Economic Development Corp. Executive Vice President Jeff Bray took part in the ceremony.
He said once the need for the facility was recognized, discussions about creating it took about five years.
“It’s maxed out, so the need is obviously there,” he said.
Jan Carstens is a doctor who has been practicing at the Perth site since June. She called herself a champion of primary care and said she’s excited about the expansion.
“It’s nice to work in a new facility,” she said. “[Here] you have almost everything you need on site.”
Carstens said she views primary care facilities as important because they are more convenient for residents in rural areas, so they enable more people to develop strong health care habits no matter what their age.
“It’s really an exciting time to be a doctor,” she said. “We can do so much more now.”
Kayleigh Karutis can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org