Shovels dug into the dirt and ground was broken for the new proposed $6 million-plus West End Healthcare Center on Tuesday.
It is the plan that the new two-story 30,000 square foot facility, to be located on Rt. 209, next to the ESSA Bank & Trust in Brodheadsville, will be completed by the end of 2014.
It will be a member of the Pocono Health System, the parent company of the Pocono Medical Center, East Stroudsburg.
The groundbreaking was well attended with members of the PMC and ESSA Bank & Trust families, PA State Representatives Rosemary Brown and Mario Scavello, Carol Kern, Western Pocono Community Library director and others of the community.
Kathleen Kuck, Pocono Health System/PMC's President/CEO of the board of directors, told the gathering that PMC is delighted to be in the West End.
She asked for a moment of silence to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the Aug. 5 Ross Township shooting, especially Dave Fleetwood, Chestnuthill Township supervisor, who she says they worked with on this project, before the shooting.
She introduced Dr. Dr. Aparna Tamaskar, Family Medicine in Brodheadsville, a PMC Physician Associates
"This feels like a dream come true," said Dr. Tamaskar of the new facility. Her office will be relocated to the new site.
Dr. Jonathan Goldner, Chief Medicine Executive, Chronic Disease and Medicine Service Line, said it was a big step for them.
Dr. Joe Conahan from Pocono Eye Associates said that it will provide extensive and state of the art care. It signed a contract with Will's Eye Hospital to come see its patients in the West End and will provide world class and quality care close to home.
Dr. Fredrick Barnes of Mountain Valley Orthopedics said the new facility will be patient focused under one roof, a place to get medical care all in one place. He added that he is excited to be coming in to the West End to be part of a great change to the community.
Linda Salas Mamary, Area Director, Riverside Rehabilitation said the rehab facility came to Brodheadsville in 1986 and is looking forward to continuing to serve the West End in the new facility.
The "medical home" approach is being integrated across the PMC health network. Locations in East Stroudsburg, Tobyhanna and Bartonsville will be equipped to provide similar services.
The new outpatient medical center will provide a wide range of outpatient services from urgent care, rehab services, ob/gyn, pediatrics, ob/gyn, psychology, cardiology and surgical specialists. It is believed that it will help reduce costly hospital visits, according to Pocono Medical Center, as per recommendation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
The land was donated by ESSA Bank & Trust nine years ago with the intention of providing health services to the West End
A $600,000 state grant to improve Lake Mineola Road has already been approved.
John Burrus, Chairman of the ESSA Bank and Trust Board said it was a great day for ESSA.
Back in 1981 he was the newest member on the ESSA board. He lived in the West End, saw the For Sale sign on the property, informed the board and it decided to buy it.
"It has taken several years and a lot of hard work to get this going ... this is going to be a personal asset to the community," he said.
He thanked everyone responsible for pulling it all together.
The building plan is awaiting Chestnuthill Township Planning Commission approval which must then be approved by township supervisors before the facility can become a reality.