Three Geisinger 65 Forward locations opened in the fall of 2020, including Shamokin Dam, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.
Now open at 41 S. Main St. in Midtown Village, this health center is a $3 million investment of a redesigned space bringing together under one roof all the health care components those 65 and over frequently need. Available to Geisinger Gold (Medicare Advantage) members, 65 Forward offers members appointment times of up to 60 minutes and access to wellness, fitness and social activities virtually or in a relaxing environment.
The one-stop medical and health and wellness services available at 65 Forward is a combination not before available in downtown Wilkes-Barre. It’s the latest investment totaling more than $120 million Geisinger has made in Luzerne County in the last two years.
“The investments Geisinger makes are all designed to make health care easier for our neighbors,” said Ron Beer, MHA, FACHE, chief administrative officer of Geisinger’s northeast region. “The community has been asking for us to bring services to downtown Wilkes-Barre, and we’ve listened. When we opened the first 65 Forward in Kingston, the response was overwhelming. Now, we’ve opened a health and wellness center that we know our members really enjoy and it’s all designed to keep them healthy.”
Members have access to a team of health care professionals, including nurses, nutritionists and a personal health care advocate who can assist with coordinating care between specialists, hospitals and insurance.
By bringing a comprehensive set of the most-used health services by Geisinger Gold members into one location, 65 Forward enrollees have access to lab services, X-ray services, behavioral health services, community support services, outpatient services and pharmacy home delivery all at one time. This can mean fewer trips to the emergency room or the hospital by managing health within the doctor’s office.
Since opening the first 65 Forward locations in 2019, including nearby Kingston, Geisinger data shows members have 20 to 25 percent lower inpatient hospitalization rates and emergency room visits are 40 to 45 percent lower. Additionally, 65 Forward members are meeting or exceeding national benchmarks for diabetes care and blood pressure control when compared to those in traditional primary care settings. Members are living healthier lives by lowering Hemoglobin A1C levels and with better blood pressure control are reducing the risk of stroke, heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.
Primary care physicians with 65 Forward will see a maximum of 450 patients, compared to the national average of 2,000-3,000 patients per primary care physician. The more intimate patient experience means doctors can focus on early detection and discussion of possible health concerns and better care management of complex, chronic and other medical conditions.
“We’re meeting our members where they are by offering so much all under one roof,” said Kurt Wrobel, Geisinger Health Plan president and executive vice president of insurance operations. “By investing in programs that align medical care and insurance coverage, we’re doing what’s best for our patients and members to make care easier. We are able to lower costs and provide a unique experience for our members to support them and keep them healthy.”
George Avetian, D.O., is the 65 Forward provider at the Wilkes-Barre location. Dr. Avetian joined the program following his decades of providing care in southeastern Pennsylvania. He’s been seeing patients over the past few months at the nearby 65 Forward Kingston location.
The 65 Forward program in Wilkes-Barre is enrolling new patients. Those interested in touring the new location or enrolling in the program can call 866-807-2849 or visit geisinger.org/forwardnewsWB to learn more.
A third Luzerne Country 65 Forward Health Center will open this month in the Hazleton area.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.