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Family First Health opens first Lancaster County medical center

York-based Family First Health has opened its first Lancaster County practice.

The primary and mental health care provider, which serves many low-income people and families, now has a location in Columbia at 369 Locust St. The office started seeing patients last week.

Family First Health – Columbia Center marks the organization’s sixth location. Family First’s other locations are spread between York and Adams counties.

Family First has been seeing more than 500 patients from Columbia and surrounding boroughs for many years, but the patients were traveling to York for services, according to CEO Jenny Englerth.

The new location will be more convenient for Lancaster County patients.

Family First also chose Columbia based on a 2014 study finding that borough residents lacked access to health services if they didn’t have insurance – specifically mental health care.

The study found that high prescription costs were creating barriers for patients.

Family First will be able to address the barriers for Columbia residents, because it is a federally qualified health center that operates on a sliding-fee scale based on family size and income.

Family First is also part of a federal program that that aims to reduce prescription costs for low-income individuals and families. The program will be available at the Columbia Center. 

Columbia center will eventually offer opioid addiction treatment

Dr. Marie Kellett will be the leading physician at Family First in Columbia.

The Columbia center will offer medical, dental and behavioral health services, and it has four adult exam rooms, one pediatric room, an on-site lab and an area for behavioral health/care coordination.

Family First expects to serve approximately 3,000 patients in the first 12 months of operation, Englerth said.

Family First is designated as a Center of Excellence, which is a government-funded treatment center for Medicaid patients suffering from opioid pain pill and heroin addiction. Although the Center of Excellence will be based in York to start, Family First plans to expand opioid addiction treatment services to all of its sites by the end of 2017, Englerth said.

Although implementation plans are still being developed, Family First has “begun working with other Columbia agencies to develop a plan that is best for the residents of the borough,” Englerth said.

The Columbia location has created 10 additional jobs in the borough. There are no plans at this time to extend further into Lancaster County, Englerth said.

Lenay Ruhl

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