Patients will get a say in how the expanding health center is run.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- When David Broehl came to the area four years ago, he didn't have a doctor.
He moved here from Wooster to take the position as coordinator of the Family and Children First Council of Trumbull County, where he heard Dr. Urwa Barakat give a presentation.
Broehl said he was impressed with Barakat and asked him if he would be his doctor.
Barakat, a doctor at Warren West Health Center, accepted Broehl as a patient, even though most of his clientele is from impoverished parts of the city.
As of Oct. 1, Youngstown Community Health Center will officially take over operation of Warren West, now run by Forum Health.
YCHC recently received a federal grant for $646,667 from the Department of Health and Human Services to expand Warren West to serve about 12,000 people who don't have access to adequate health care.
'Significant' need: "I think the need for this is significant," Broehl said. "The location is ideal. It's win, win, win across the board."
He added that the need for expansion is evident if you take into consideration the grant application.
YCHC received more money than it applied for, Broehl said, explaining he writes grants frequently and "That's never happened to me."
Warren West is in the Trumbull Community Action Program building, 1230 Palmyra Road.
Dr. Ronald Dwinnells, executive director and CEO of YCHC, said Warren West is too small.
The current location will stay open, and officials hope to move into the former Rite Aid building at the corner of Tod Avenue and Palmyra Road within six months.
The building has more than 8,000 square feet and will allow the center to offer full-time adult and pediatric care, with two family practitioners.
Other services: Other services will include dentistry and a pharmacy, along with some care in mental health, podiatry, and hearing and speech, Dwinnells said.
Other programs are planned, including mammography, diabetes management and flu shots.
Because it's recognized by the federal government as a community health center, 51 percent of its governing board must consist of patients.
"It's nice because it's the patients who get a say-so in how the center is run," Dwinnells said.
Patients are billed based on federal poverty guidelines, meaning their total household income is taken into account, along with the number of people living in the residence.
Each of the three census tracts surrounding Warren West is federally designated as "medically underserved" and "health professional shortage areas."
One-third of the area's population is children, and half of all households there have annual incomes below $20,000.
Officials involved with the expansion have met several times and assessed operations.
Hiring is under way, and the hope is that the new facility is up and running next summer, Dwinnells said.
He said that the name of Warren West may change if officials decide to establish a parent corporation to cover Warren West and YCHC.