English announces committee approval of federal funds for LECOM
Project will increase access to quality healthcare for Erie-area seniors

U.S. Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) announced Aug. 27 that the House Committee on Appropriations has approved $500,000 in federal funds for a new Geriatric Treatment Assessment Center at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Funding for this project is part of the fiscal year 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. The bill awaits action on the House floor and must be approved by the Senate and the president before funding is final.

From left, Silvia Ferretti, D.O., LECOM Provost, Senior Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, James Lin, D.O., Vice President for Senior Services and Adult Living at Millcreek Community Hospital, and U.S. Rep. Phil English, R-Pa., attended a press conference announcing the approval of $500,000 in federal funds for a new Geriatric Treatment Assessment Center at LECOM.

“Today, I am delighted to announce that we have crossed the first hurdle to securing critical funding that will increase access to quality, affordable healthcare for our local seniors,” said English, a senior member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. “This new, state-of-the art facility will not only meet the healthcare demands of the 21st century, it will also go a long way to improving the quality of care and quality of life for so many of our local older Americans.”

“LECOM is committed to preparing our geriatric patients for successful aging,” said Silvia M. Ferretti, D.O., LECOM Provost, Senior Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs. “While Pennsylvania ranks third for people 65 and older, first for residents over age 85, we also know that nearly 3-million Pennsylvania baby boomers are going to need preventive health care and medical treatment as they grow older.”

English requested funding for the LECOM project to help improve patient safety and ensure seniors have easier access to quality care. The allotted $500,000 will allow LECOM to establish a Geriatric Treatment Center to provide “one-stop shopping” for local elderly patients and their caregivers. The center will be located on the third floor of the new LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center.

Specifically, the Geriatric Treatment Center would work to develop best practices for treating the geriatric population. The nature of elderly patients’ problems is multidimensional, which requires comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team with minimal redundancy in assessment and treatment that centers on function and quality of life. James Lin, D.O., a 2002 LECOM graduate, will head the geriatric program. Dr. Lin is a fellowship trained geriatric specialist.

“Clearly this initiative has the potential to launch our region into a new level of superior eldercare,” English said. “I am pleased the appropriators recognized this project and remain committed to working with my colleagues in Washington to ensure LECOM has access to the resources they need to continue to make sure our patients and community at large are healthy and safe.”

Since being elected to Congress in 1994, English has brought back nearly $142 million for important local projects in Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District.

August 27, 2008
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