WellSpan has opened its first standalone palliative and supportive care clinic in Lebanon.

It’s a move that the healthcare system thinks will benefit patients. The clinic is located at 202 Hathaway Park, near WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, and is staffed by a care team of three providers, Meghan MacLean, M.D., Kelly Wheeler, CRNP, and Brianna Woods, CRNP.

It officially opened its doors in late September.

Dr. Vipul Bhatia, a WellSpan physician and associate chief medical officer for post-acute and continuing care services, said in an interview with LebTown that unlike hospice care – which is reserved for the very end of life when curative attempts have been given up – palliative and supportive care focus on patients who are chronically ill and can use support and symptom management. Palliative care has been shown to reduce the total cost of healthcare and improve health outcomes.

Bhatia said that previously these services were only available at the Good Samaritan Hospital or select other practices, such as the WellSpan Sechler Family Cancer Center. There was a need for other types of patients to have these services, he said; by putting the clinic in the community, Bhatia said, patients can hopefully now receive care prior to hospital admission.

“WellSpan’s vision is to lead the region in providing high value care to all the patients we serve” said Dr. Geoff Nicholson, senior vice president and chief clinical officer of WellSpan Population Health, in a press release. “Our Palliative & Supportive Care services are an example of how the health system’s over-arching vision can be realized for an important segment of our patients as well as their partnering care providers.”

Located within the renamed Weaber Family Palliative and Supportive Care building, the clinic will be staffed based on volume and demand, said Bhatia. The clinic can be reached directly at (717) 818-2469, or referrals can be requested through other medical providers.

For more information about the program, visit WellSpan’s website.

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