Wright Center Unveils Work on New Wilkes-Barre Health Hospital | Federal State

When the Wright Center received its eviction notice from the former First Hospital in Kingston in September, officials at the nonprofit healthcare provider knew they had to find a new location in Luzerne County quickly.

Thanks to some great partnerships in the community, a rapid reduction in government red tape, a construction company’s willingness to take on the job immediately, and a $2 million government grant, the Wright Center is ready to open its new location in Wilkes -Barre open to patients on January 9th.

The Wright Center will soon be located at 169 N. Pennsylvania Ave. opened, a former Blue Cross building last owned and operated by King’s College. The organization invited community stakeholders and the media on Wednesday to get an insight into the construction progress of the new facility.

“We are honored to have this opportunity in Luzerne County to expand implementation of our mission to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve…” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Medical Education. “Our significant investment in Wilkes-Barre will enable the Wright Center to expand our operations and our collaborative, interprofessional relationships to ensure everyone in the care setting has equal access to holistic primary health care services, regardless of their zip code, insurance status or ability to pay .”

Founded in Lackawanna County in 1976, the Scranton-based Wright Center primarily serves patients in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. The network also trains aspiring medical students through partnerships with local schools.

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The Wilkes-Barre Clinic will provide a wide range of services from primary care to behavioral health and dental care. The practice is initially open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The aim is to be open on Sundays as well.

“It’s an amazing benefit to the City of Wilkes-Barre,” said Mayor George Brown.

After Commonwealth Health announced that First Hospital in Kingston would be closing Oct. 30, the Wright Center was told it would have to move out, Thomas-Hemak said. She said Commonwealth Health later granted them lease extensions until they found a new property.

Shortly after learning that they would need a new location, Thomas-Hemak contacted Rev. Thomas P. Looney, President of King’s College, to discuss the organization’s dilemma. He said the college’s Pennsylvania Avenue building – which served primarily for classrooms used during the COVID-19 pandemic – was up for sale.

After the Wright Center agreed to purchase the property, Wilkes-Barre City helped expedite the planning permission process, and Sordoni Construction agreed to quickly undertake renovations of the 34,460-square-foot building, Thomas-Hemak said.

The state then awarded the Wright Center a $2 million grant under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

State Assemblyman Eddie Day Pashinski, D-121, of Wilkes-Barre, said the new clinic is a godsend for those without adequate health care in the area.

“This will become a one-stop shop,” Pashinski said. “It’s an absolute blessing.”

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