AmeriHealth Caritas Northeast to Open Community Wellness Center in Hazleton
AmeriHealth Caritas Northeast, a Medicaid managed care plan that serves 22 northeastern Pennsylvania counties, announced today plans to open a community wellness center in Hazleton to help residents overcome the social, economic and environmental barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy life.
The community wellness center will be located at 20 West Broad Street, in a storefront that is the former home of Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce. Open to members and non-members, it will offer a variety of services such as health education workshops, fitness and nutrition classes, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P.) benefits counseling and new member orientations. Members will also be provided opportunities to complete their health risk assessments and attend Mission GED classes to earn their general equivalency diplomas (GEDs).
“In addition to receiving health and wellness information, we also want residents to visit our center to connect with local social service organizations to obtain the resources and support to help them address the non-medical factors that can affect their health,” said AmeriHealth Caritas Northeast Market President Marge Angello. “Our community wellness center will allow us to provide holistic, whole-person care using a mix of social and clinical programs to help members achieve improved health outcomes.”
Mayor Jeff Cusat said he was pleased that the community wellness center will be located in Downtown Hazleton.
“Downtown Hazleton is experiencing a rebirth: People are coming back downtown to work, shop, and to socialize. The wellness center will be another important downtown attraction, especially for our residents who want to develop a healthier lifestyle,” he said.
Partnerships with local social service agencies and non-profit, charitable organizations will be important in helping residents address social determinants that can be barriers to good health.
“We are thrilled to have AmeriHealth Caritas Northeast join our growing downtown business community. Not only will their new Wellness Center bring valuable services to our community, but it will also breathe life into our town center and further add to the growing number of new jobs created downtown,” said Krista L. Schneider, executive director of Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, a coalition of public and private sector entities promoting downtown revitalization efforts. “We welcome their partnership in our revitalization efforts.”
Studies indicate that social determinants of health – the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work and play – have a significant impact on a person’s long-term health.1 Addressing social determinants is important in mitigating the risk factors and the development of chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes. The wellness center will focus on coordinating preventative care and chronic disease management for members.
1Magnan, S. "Social Determinants of Health 101 for Health Care: Five Plus Five." NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. 2017. https://doi.org/10.31478/201710c