Rising Sun Health Center, a program of Public Health Management Corporation and one of five nurse-managed federally qualified health centers in the PHMC health network, opened the doors of their new health center this fall at One & Olney Square.
The 7,500 square foot facility is three times larger than Rising Sun’s previous area location, allowing for expanded services including primary care and social services, along with elder-friendly facilities and 12 state-of-the-art exam rooms. It’s more than what they had at their previous site.
“We’ve been getting a lot of people,” said Mariam Salahou, a nurse practitioner at Rising Sun. “People will be like, ‘Oh yeah, I go to that place.’ ‘You guys moved here?’ ‘I live back there.’ ‘I live next door.’ We’ve been getting a lot of them.”
Data from PHMC’s 2012 Pennsylvania Household Health Survey indicated that last year, more than 30,000 residents in the community surrounding Rising Sun Health Center utilized a community health center or public clinic. There are an estimated 35,500 uninsured people in the neighborhood. Around 20,900 don’t have a regular source of care and 29,900 who, in the last year, chose not to seek needed health services due to cost.
The Household Health Survey is one of the largest local health surveys in the county and a unique regional resource. The expansion of Rising Sun Health Center will help provide accessible, affordable health services to those who need it the most.
“We do sick visits, acute visits, family planning,” Salahou said. “We do our own blood work, chronic care, diabetic and what have you. We have so many patients now. We need more staff, more providers.”
Similarly, in North Philadelphia’s 19121 zip code, Project HOME is working on developing their own healthcare center, which will assist low income residents.
“It’s going to build and expand on what we have been already doing for 18 years,” Monica McCurdy, vice president of health care services at Project HOME. “The Wellness Center will be open to anyone but especially to people who are homeless, formerly homeless and live in the community.”
McCurdy added that because a lot of people struggle within the North Philadelphia community with issues around safety and violence, the idea of health care sometimes takes a backseat.
“You have people who, because they are homeless, will delay their health care or addressing it because they have other pressing issues to deal with,” McCurdy added.
Salahou said that one of the things that Rising Sun does to differentiate itself from other health centers is bring a sort of closeness to the community, forming relationships with their patients.
“We’re excited to be able to better serve the health needs of the Olney community,” said, Richard J. Cohen, president and CEO of PHMC in a press release. “This new facility gives us additional opportunities to fulfill our mission to improve the health of our communities, particularly for those who are uninsured or under-insured and in need of affordable health care options.”
Naima Stephens, who has lived within the Olney area for 33 years, sees health care as a major problem in urban communities because of a lack of education about the topic. Her main concern is America’s growing obesity problem.
She hopes that Rising Sun is affordable and will offer certain programs that are beneficial to both parents and adults.
“There are other ways to stay healthy too,” Stephens said. “Take time out to plan healthier meals, maybe make two or three meals a day, and stay away from all that junk food.”