New Geisinger program with bases in Scranton and Honesdale

Geisinger program aims to eliminate barriers to health care for most vulnerable

By Michael Iorfino
(Published: August 6, 2014)

Some fear having to pay steep medical costs. Others struggle to find rides to their appointments or are not aware of medical resources available locally.

As the region’s demand for health care services grows, Geisinger Health System launched a pilot program in Scranton aimed at eliminating the barriers to care for the most vulnerable — the area’s underinsured and uninsured.

“If we really want to take care of populations and geographies, there’s a whole bunch of patients that are sort of getting left behind,” said Thomas Graf, M.D., chief medical officer for population health and longitudinal care at Geisinger.
The program, called a “Proven Wellness Neighborhood,” relies on its staff to identify patients’ needs and connect them with resources, such as arranging transportation, teaching healthy lifestyle behaviors or determining if patients are eligible for health insurance.

For example, they could direct an ill patient who lacks health insurance to the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured, one of the organizations coordinating with the program.

Dr. Graf expects the program’s staff — two social workers and two community health agents — to serve at least 1,000 Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured or underinsured patients in the first year. That number should jump to 17,000 in the second year, when the staff grows and awareness of the program increases.

Many patients will be referred to the program by physicians at Geisinger Mount Pleasant in Scranton or the Honesdale Family Health Center, the two “hubs” where staff members will be based, he said.

The program is mainly funded by a $600,000 grant via the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

“Ideally, if we can continue to expand and scale this, we would like to cover all of Northeast Pennsylvania,” Dr. Graf said. “The community need (in Scranton) was real.”

On July 3rd, Be A Hero to benefit CASA

2014__Superheros_REGISTRATION_FORM_Page_1Wendy’s Superhero 5k and Kids Dash to benefit CASA

This event will benefit both the CASA of Luzerne County and Lackawanna County and will be held at the Lackawanna County Courthouse during the Scrantastic Independence Day celebration! Here is a link to the website so you can read all the specifics:

Wendy’s Super Hero Run

So what can you do to help us with this event?

Volunteer! we are going to need a lot of support that day, especially with the Kids Dash. If you are available we will meet at the Lackawanna Courthouse at 5:00 pm. If you can bring along a volunteer or two that would be great. Please let me know.

We are looking for talented artists that may be willing to face paint! Anyone, Anyone?

Join us! Bring your kids/grandkids along to participate in the race.

Share this event with others! Invite your friends and family to participate. There was an event created on our Facebook Page so share it and invite your friends: Wendy’s Superhero 5K and Kids Superhero Dash!

Run! Dress up in your favorite Superhero outfit or in a CASA t-shirt to show your support.

If you are interested in Registering for this event, you can download a registration form below.

2014__Superheros_REGISTRATION_FORM_Page_22014__Superheros_REGISTRATION_FORM_Page_3NOTE: On the morning of July 1st we will be promoting the event with Ryan Lecky on WNEP. We are looking for volunteers, friends, family members who are excited to talk about CASA  & dress up as a Super Hero!! This is an early morning, high energy promotion that will really make the July 3rd event a hit and get the word out about CASA. We need volunteers from 4:50 am to 6:50 am (we will only ask you to do this once!!) at the Lackawanna County Courthouse. If you have kids/grandkids that want to be on TV bring them along in their best superhero outfits.

We need to continue to get the word out there about the good you are doing and grow the program to meet the needs of our kids!



Voices of Hope

In 1955, a new organization, founded in Lackawanna County, provided a voice for persons with mental illness. Since its humble beginnings, that organization, now known as The Advocacy Alliance, has expanded to serve persons with mental illness and persons with mental retardation in fifteen counties through Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Take a few minutes to view “Voices of Hope”, an inspirational story that parallels changes in the way mental health and mental retardation services were delivered through the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s and the hope that accompanies the dawn of the 21st century.

The journey begins in the mid-1950s when persons with mental illness expected to be socially isolated and stigmatized, and continues to the 21st Century when due to the efforts of many, including The Advocacy Alliance, persons with mental illness and persons with mental retardation are living in communities participating in life decisions, and exercising their right to be heard.