Grant to help St. Joseph Regional Health Network improve health care access in downtown Reading

BERN TWP., Pa. - State money will enable St. Joseph Regional Health Network to expand its primary care services in downtown Reading, officials announced Tuesday.

The health network's downtown Reading campus is one of 40 recipients of a Pennsylvania Department of Health grant.

The $166,666 grant, awarded through the health department's community-based health care subsidy program, will increase medical practitioner and facility capacity, including patient walk-in access to care, according to Laura Welliver, St. Joseph's grant administrator, who added that the money will also be used to provide experts who can improve interaction with patients during and after care.

"Patient access to primary care is even more critical in this new era of health care," said John Morahan, president/CEO, St. Joseph Regional Health Network. "By helping people find family doctors and setting up processes to ensure access to care, we become better at providing preventive care as well as helping patients with chronic illness or disease to better manage their conditions."

The grant will also be used for increasing primary care practitioner hours and funding a bilingual/bi-cultural position called a "promotora," who is a community health worker that focuses on patient outreach and education among other things.

The downtown Reading campus at 6th and Walnut streets, formerly Community General Hospital, offers primary care, along with outpatient services such as x-ray, lab and dental services.

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