Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:39PM - 307 Views

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Gloria Blandina had done her homework. And she was only too happy to share it. Speaking at a reception marking the fifth anniversary of the Care and Concern Free Health Clinic in Pittston, Blandia, clinic director, began with the number of patient visits during that time: 5,663.

Using a figure of $200 as a minimum charge for an emergency room visit at a hospital, Blandina calculated the clinic has saved $1,132,600 in health care costs.

Citing the all volunteer staff, which includes doctors, nurse practicioners, nurses, and social service professionals, she estimates weekly salaries saved to be a minimum of $7,800, or $394,000 a year. The five year total? $1.97 million.

In his remarks, Msgr. John Bendik, pastor of the Parish Community of St. John the Evangelist, sponsors of the clinic, recalled the opening night five years ago as he waited with Dr. John Callahan and just one, single patient showed up.

The clinic operates totally on donations and grants and Blandina listed several of those.

She also recognized the efforts of the owners of Fino's Pharmacy, Pittston; Pittston Area art teacher Judy Greenwald and her students; and the Sunday Dispatch, in providing a variety of assistance.

The Free Health Clinic is open at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the former Seton Catholic High School. The Care and Concern ministries also operate The Greater Pittston Food Pantry (anyone in need of food is asked to call 654-9923) and the Greater Pittston Kids Closet, noting its third anniversary providing new and gently used clothing.

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