(Editor’s Note: This story appeared in a recent issue of the Sunday Dispatch.)
PITTSTON — Members of the media toured Geisinger Health System’s new Pittston medical building on Thursday, a week before the 17,000-square-foot building, located at 42 N. Main St., opens on Sept. 10.
The building, which will accommodate patients from three local practices, has been under construction since August 2014. The project cost $9.4 million.
Key features include 25 examination rooms; a treatment room, where doctors can do procedures such as skin removal or administer IV fluids; and a 32-space garage for patients to park when visiting the building.
Something new that Pittston’s Geisinger has never had is radiology services. Dr. James Tricarico said in the past, patients would have to go to either Wilkes-Barre or Scranton for X-rays, but that is no longer the case.
The X-rays are digitized in Pittston and sent to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center Plains Township to be interpreted for diagnosis.
Tricarico said doctors can log onto the computer system in Pittston and view the x-rays if needed, but results are usually available within one day.
“For me this is a big addition because I would always have to negotiate where to get a patient to get an X-ray, and now we can take care of it right here,” said Tricarico. “I see a good amount of elderly patients and transportation is an issue for them, and this is nice because the more you can do on site, the easier it is for everybody.”
Therese Pramick, a public relations representative, said Geisinger was able to obtain an X-ray machine because it was something the Greater Pittston area needed.
“Because we’re Geisinger Health Systems and we have radiology services within our system, we’re able to work closely on planning,” she said. “It’s like, ‘OK, what does this community need that we don’t already provide and how can we incorporate it into a new building like that?’ It was just discussion among the leaderships.”
On staff will be four full-time physicians and two full-time physician assistants, all from the Geisinger building at 457 N. Main St. Tricarico said that building will no longer be in use, as Geisinger was renting that facility.
A pharmacist will be working out of the new Geisinger building as well and the Geisinger medical building across the street will remain open as a pediatrics office.
There will, however, be no pharmacy on site. City officials noted during a tour of the building this week that an on-site pharmacy would create competition among other pharmacies on Main Street.
“I think they were projecting a new building here no matter what,” Tricarico said. “I joined Geisinger myself four years ago — I was in private practice for 10 years before that and from the moments of me starting to negotiate with them to join they were talking about a new building in Pittston. I think the building across the street had kind of run its course and needed bigger space and more expansion.”
With medical staff from the two Pittston Geisinger buildings coming into one location, Tricarico said it will make things much easier for both doctors and patients. Drs. Tricarico, Benedict Sales, Luigi Spagnolini and Cassandra Tunis and physician assistants Megan Kelly and Stacey Lauffer will treat patients at the Pittston facility.
Geisinger has also encouraged patients from the Wyoming medical building on Wyoming Avenue to transfer to the Pittston facility. The Wyoming practice closed on Aug. 14 after the announcement that Dr. Fariba Modares would move to another department within the company.
“I think the biggest thing is we have as much care in one building,” he said. “X-ray on site, pharmacists — there is a lot more to offer here than we’ve had at other places.”
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Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher