by HOWARD BALABAN
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The recently opened Orleans Community Health Center of Albion came to fruition out of a need in the area.
At Wednesday’s Orleans County Legislature meeting, Jim Sinner and Brian Banas of Medina Memorial Hospital spoke about the recently opened center.
Banas, the chief operating officer at MMH, said the new facility is a necessity.
“This area is underserved medically,” he said, alluding to how few medical professionals are in Orleans County. He added that the goal of the facility is to promote health of patients while simultaneously working with those who require constant care to make sure their conditions are managed.
Banas explained how creating strictly an urgent care facility did not make economic sense so the new center is a “hybrid model.”
“We talked about the need for primary care vs. urgent care, and we determined that both were needed,” Banas said. He said urgent care is very reactive, and he noted the two primary care providers on staff are available to manage most other outpatient needs.
While there are doctors who are established in the area, Banas stressed the availability of the health center is meant as a complimentary approach, not a competitive one.
“We’re not looking to take patients away,” he said. “We just want to fulfill the needs of the community.”
Currently the Orleans Community Health Center has a lab on site and will soon have x-ray capability, too. In the coming weeks a cardiology doctor will join the staff. Banas said other specialists in the fields of neurology, orthopedic surgery, and nephrology and also in talks to come on board.
“We have a commitment to grow with the community,” he said. “Our hours right now are not set in stone. We want to understand what the community needs and we want to grow with these needs.”
Sinner added putting “Orleans Community” on the title of the building instead of “Albion” was done on purpose to be “more inclusive of the entire county.”
He also mentioned the local government’s role in pushing the health center through to completion with its lack of “bureaucratic red tape.” He also praised Banas’ work on the health center, as his work led to the center’s funding coming largely from grants.
In other legislature news, overwhelming support was voiced for a New York State Senate Bill giving a $1,200 tax credit to volunteer firefighters in good standing with their departments. Previously, the credit was $200.
Members of the Lyndonville and Murray fire departments were present to show their appreciation for the support. With less of an incentive to become a volunteer firefighter, many departments in the county have seen a 50 to 60 percent reduction in personnel. The hope is the increased credit will stop that loss.