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Northeast Philadelphia residents say the need for more health care options is long overdue

Northeast Philly residents say they need more health care options
Northeast Philly residents say they need more health care options 02:10

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Residents in Northeast Philadelphia say they are in desperate need of more health care options, but the plan to build two new additional health centers has yet to be finalized. 

Some community members say they have no more time to waste.

There are over 40 health centers in Philadelphia that provide care for low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents. Yet, there's only one health center in Northeast Philly, where residents say the demand is far greater than the care it can deliver. 

"Being that it's the only health center in the Northeast, everyone is coming to this health center," resident Cynthia Clark said.

For Clark, a cancer survivor, the care she needs isn't easy to get.

"I have an appointment coming up that I booked almost a year ago," she said. 

Clark said adults like herself are sometimes forced to wait up to a year for an appointment to see a doctor. For children, she said it can take up to five months.

Clark said the community is in desperate need for additional health centers.

"For me to wait almost a year, I can die waiting for an appointment because I don't know how serious my illness is," she said. 

Talks to build two new health centers in Northeast Philadelphia continue at City Hall, but the proposals have yet to be finalized.

The proposals would look to build one health center at Friends Hospital as well as across the street from the Frankford Transportation Center.

Starting Tuesday, councilwoman Quetcy Lozada will hold community meetings to get feedback from residents on the need for the health centers at these dates and locations: 

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Houseman Rec Center at 5091 Summerdale Ave, Philadelphia at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the Juniata Boys and Girls Club at 1230 Cayuga Street from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday. Feb. 27 at Olney Presbyterian Church at 3435 N. 3rd Street (3rd and Tabor) from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

But Director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, John Dodds, says there's opposition that could put the proposal at risk.

Dodds says some people oppose demolishing the Lawnside building. 

"I don't see why there would be any concern about this so we really think it needs to be done," he said. 

For Clark, she said the proposed health centers could be a gamechanger for her and the entire Northeast.

"Patients are waiting too long to be seen," she said. 

The proposed health centers would look to provide care for an additional 40,000 people living in Northeast Philadelphia, which would reduce wait times for residents. 

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