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Health Center cuts hours; town considers options

AMC has been operating the health center in Wilmington for six years, but recently cut back its days of operation to just two a week. Town Supervisor Jeanne Ashworth said that having a health center in Wilmington is vital. Town officials approached Elizabethtown Community Hospital for a proposal to operate the center. Under the ECH proposal, the center would be open part-time for five days a week, with a possibility of operating on Saturdays. The center serves Wilmington and surrounding communities. Ashworth said that ECH is also associated with Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH), which had a large variety of services. Patricia Gero, AMCs director of Health Centers, said the center hadnt met the target volumes AMC hoped for. After discussing our concerns with the representatives of the Town of Wilmington... a decision was made to reduce the office hours to two days per week, which will still give services in the community with the hope that if we see a need for additional services we would reevaluate the hours again, said Gero. Gero said the very committed to continue to keep health services in the Town of Wilmington.Part of the problem, though, was that people were unaware that they were available. I have heard that some people dont realize that a Health Center exists in Wilmington, and I am going to make a concentrated effort to increase the publics awareness of our Health Center, said Gero. Gero said that AMC was planning on sponsoring a health fair at the Center in April to increase public awareness. At the Wilmington Health Center, AMC offers primary care, which includes preventative medicine such as yearly physicals for adults and children, health care management for chronic illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension, and urgent care (same day appointments) that may be needed for a variety of illnesses. The current hours of operation are Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Elizabethtown Community Hospital representatives declined to comment.

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