Residents in Pennsylvania may have to travel farther if they need a state health center.
Last week, a proposal about the co-location of state health centers was addressed in Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget for 2013-2014.
Possibly affected could be the Carbon County state health center site, located in Jim Thorpe.
The state Department of Health made the proposal to co-locate state health centers based on data-driven research, it was reported. Findings that led to the decision of possible consolidation include finding that 77 percent of operational funds are used for leases and not services; many state health centers do not have many walk-in clients; and all department public health clinics are scheduled, lessening the need for stationary buildings.
The internal analysis showed that consolidation of state health centers is necessary to mobilize staff and modernize t0he system, which has been operating on an outdated model from the late 1980s, Aimee Tysarczyk, press secretary for the Department of Health, stated recently.
Though there will be a reduction in the number of positions due to the modernization plan, staffing in most state health center areas will increase with the planned shift in staff from each impacted location to multiple counties.
The goal of the modernization plan is to increase services, not take them away, Tysarczyk added. Communities would have more access to services via the state health center staff because staff will be going out to areas where residents live and work versus having them come to the health centers. Internal analysis also showed that finding the locations or accessing transportation can be a challenge to the clients the centers service.
Tysarczyk noted that the state is still evaluating which locations would be impacted if the proposal is approved by the General Assembly and signed by Corbett.
No official locations for consolidation have been announced.
There are 60 state health centers, including Carbon County's.