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Survey shows interest in medical clinic at towers | News, Sports, Jobs


A recent survey of residents at the Altoona Housing Authority’s downtown towers showed interest in a medical clinic there.

Thirty residents attended a meeting organized by authority officials and by representatives of PeopleOne Health and Senior LIFE Altoona — partners in the proposed clinic — and 15 said they could benefit, said authority Executive Director Cheryl Johns.

“It’s happening,” said PeopleOne Health co-founder Dr. Zane Gates, whose organization serves members who pay a recurring fee for primary care and various other medical services.

“We’re getting the ball rolling,” Johns said. “(But) we still have to have conversations.”

If there are 20, 30 or 40 residents of the Green Avenue or 11th Street towers who would use a clinic’s services, it would make sense to set one up, said Alyssa Stephens, executive director of Senior LIFE Altoona, part of a federal network that helps people age 55 and up who are eligible for Medicaid stay out of nursing homes.

A start date has not been determined, said Brad Kanuch, an authority administrative officer.

How often the clinic would be open would depend on the demand.

The initial clinic proposal called for it to be mobile, but the organizations have settled on a stationary clinic that would be located in a former efficiency apartment at the Green Avenue Tower that was once occupied by the Blair County Respiratory Disease Society office.

Many tower residents have “access problems,” Gates said. “We want to put the care right where they are,” Gates said. “(But) it’s going to take some time to get all (the potential users’) buy-in.”

The clinic would be open to all authority residents, including those at Fairview Hills family development and Pleasant Village — and to residents of the Section 8 subsidized housing program, which the authority administers in the city, according to Johns.

Clinic users would need to have or obtain a membership with PeopleOne — a membership that Senior LIFE members have automatically.

Many of the members of the target demographic for the clinic are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare — or “dual eligible,” Gates said.

Senior LIFE (Living Independently for the Elderly) Altoona, which serves Blair County, is one of 12 such regional organizations in Pennsylvania, according to Stephens.

Senior LIFE Altoona, which recently relocated from downtown to Fairway Drive, provides physical, occupational and speech therapy, dietary help, home care and medical care, all designed to keep people living in their houses or apartments, Stephens said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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