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A first for Pike County: Urgent Care centers are on the way

Urgent care is a commonly used part of the healthcare system in the United States.
KaraGrubis/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Urgent care is a commonly used part of the healthcare system in the United States.

Pike County residents and visitors can seek emergency services at four different hospitals. None of them are in the county, which also lacks an urgent care center.

That will change soon.

Northwell Health, New York's largest healthcare provider, has verbally committed to open urgent care facilities in the Weiss Market complex on Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry and along the Route 507 corridor in Palmyra Township.

“We're starting basically from zero when it comes to no urgent cares or hospitals," said Pike County Commissioner Matthew Osterberg. "Anything we can add at this point just enhances everybody’s lives."

The largest area of the county was around Matamoras up until the 1980s, said Osterberg. Most residents were close to a hospital across the state border in Port Jervis, New York. But in the past 40 years, Pike has seen an explosion of growth in the center of the county and farther away from emergency services.

“Now the largest populated townships are Dingmans, Delaware, Blooming Grove, all along the 739 corridor," he said. "Now they represent about 55 to 60% of the population."

The county worked to help better fund ambulance services for residents. But getting to a hospital in Scranton, Honesdale, Stroudsburg or Port Jervis still takes over 35 minutes for a large group of the population.

Osterberg said the county has approached most regional medical providers about opening a facility in Pike. Northwell was not on their radar until a company executive had a medical emergency while vacationing at Lake Wallenpaupack.

“They came to us and said 'we're going to do a study and help you with this'," he said.

In a press release, Commissioner Ronald Schmalzle added that he sees this as the first step in the future expansion of medical services in the county.

The county is willing to donate land on its property off Route 739 near the Pike County Correctional Facility to build a small hospital, said Osterberg.

"We will continue to work with providers to build collaborative relationships to realize this goal," said Schmalzle.

Opening dates are not yet set for the urgent care centers.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.

You can email Kat at katbolus@wvia.org