The new community health center’s 21,800-square-foot space in Hampden Township is expected to open early next summer, a news release said.
Projected services include primary care for pediatric and adult patients, behavioral health services, dental care and women’s health, Sadler said. The facility will also incorporate an in-house pharmacy, vision center, insurance enrollment and medication opioid use disorder for substance use, as well as a separate entrance for emergency health care needs. Additionally, the new location will provide testing, treatment and immunizations as a COVID-19 response site.
Sadler anticipates serving 4,000 patients in its first year of operation at the new facility and 8,000 in following years, the release said.
The center, a federally qualified health center, offers primary care, dental care and behavior health services in downtown Carlisle as well as dental care out of it’s location in Loysville in Perry County. Sadler’s mission is to provide “integrated, high-quality and compassionate care,” the release said. According to its website, Sadler serves all patients, including those who have government-sponsored insurance, and those who are underinsured or uninsured.
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“As we continue to serve patients at our health centers in Perry County and Carlisle, the new site in Mechanicsburg will offer those in need on the West Shore an option to obtain affordable, high quality care while meeting additional need in our region,” said Manal El Harrak, chief executive officer of Sadler Health Center.
During Friday’s event, El Harrak said planning for this project began in 2019 with a strategic plan from the center’s board of directors as well as a needs assessment that identified eastern Cumberland County as an area of “high need” for affordable and high-quality health care services.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified health care disparities. The needs of the growing underserved, uninsured and immigrant populations within Cumberland County substantiates the need for Sadler Health Center to open a site in Mechanicsburg that will offer comprehensive and culturally competent care,” she said.
El Harrak said 88% of the 25,000 low-income residents in eastern Cumberland County have no access to preventative and routine health care services and more than 9,000 are uninsured.
“These numbers spoke and our board not only listened, but took the first step in addressing this dire need,” El Harrak said Friday.
Wendy Braund, state deputy secretary for health preparedness and community protection, also spoke during the groundbreaking.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic shined a “bright and painful light” on disparities in the health care system, and demonstrated a need to make changes in the system to prevent the “most vulnerable” from being left behind.
“Many individuals are choosing between paying for health care and other necessities such as food and shelter,” Braund said. “Sadler helps provide that ounce of prevention for thousands of local residents. Access to needed health care should be a human right, not a privilege. It should not depend on your income, where you live, your race or ethnicity, social status, education level or anything else. The opportunity to come to a health center like Sadler is life changing for individuals and families who could not otherwise access affordable health care and not only do you ensure that they are treated regardless of their ability to pay, but you also make sure they receive the same quality care and attention that all people deserve.”
Sadler staff members and local government officials broke ground at the event before opening the new facility for attendees to tour.
Funds for the new location will be derived from federal, state and county grants as well as community support, Sadler said. The center initiated a 2021 capital campaign to generate funds for the new center’s opening, and $1.8 million dollars has been committed toward the $4 million goal, the release said.
“The work you do here will impact countless lives as you serve your neighbors, meeting some of their most basic needs,” Braund said. “I am really excited about the efforts we are currently undertaking to eliminate health inequities across Pennsylvania and your efforts here in the Cumberland Valley. Thank you for all that you do in the community and all that you will do with this new facility.”
Maddie Seiler is a news reporter for The Sentinel and cumberlink.com covering Carlisle and Newville. You can contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at: @SeilerMadalyn