On Friday, November 12, the Tower Health Medical Group Street Medicine Program will host a ribbon-cutting event for its first Telemedicine kiosk. The kiosk will be located at the Hope Rescue Mission located at 645 N 6th Street in Reading. The event will begin at noon and remarks will be made by Anthony Donato, MD, Street Medicine Physician; Katherine Thornton, President, Reading Hospital Foundation; Rob Turchi, Executive Director of Hope Rescue Mission; and Mark Roberto, patient.
The new kiosk was partially funded by a grant from the United Way of Berks County and FirstEnergy Foundation. The Street Medicine Program anticipates the kiosk will provide virtual medical appointments up to an additional 20 to 25 patients per week. The kiosk will be available through scheduled appointments, walk-in appointments, and evening hours.
"We are very excited that we can now offer virtual visits to patients," said Dr. Donato. "Access to care continues to be a challenge for those who are homeless in our community. The Street Medicine team, along with our partners and generous donors, are committed to removing barriers to care, and the Telemedicine Kiosk is a shining example of strong community partnerships and creative problem solving."
"We are pleased to provide a $100,000 grant through the FirstEnergy Foundation’s 'Investing with Purpose' initiative to help fund this critical resource to meet the health and wellness needs of this underserved population," said Lorna Wisham, president of The FirstEnergy Foundation. "This program is a precise fit for 'Investing with Purpose', which supports organizations that advance health and safety, workforce development, educational, and social justice initiatives."
Charles F. Barbera, MD, Vice President of Pre-Hospital and Unscheduled Care, added, "The new kiosk will remove a barrier to individuals to participate in telemedicine services and provide care when and where patients need it. When a patient selects to use this service, they will have an appointment with a Street Medicine Provider and all information will be documented in their MyTowerHealth electronic medical record."
Tammy White, President of Berks County United Way, said, "We know homelessness is hazardous to good health - that's why we are excited to support the Street Medicine program and expand medical care for our most vulnerable residents. United Way's Impact Grant, which is supported by the gift we received from MacKenzie Scott, supports a critical community need through this innovative program. The kiosks serve as an important tool in providing health screenings and assessments, as well as help break barriers and decrease emergency room visits. United Way is pleased to be a part of this community partnership."
The Street Medicine program uses a team approach to deliver primary and preventive care to the unsheltered homeless, those living in homeless shelters, and those at high risk of experiencing homelessness. The goal is to proactively address health issues, decrease emergency department visits, reduce readmission rates, and reduce costs and increase adherence to care plans and medication plans. In fiscal year 2021, the Street Medicine Program cared for a total of 1,150 patients.
Generous donations from local organizations and community members to the Reading Hospital Foundation ensure they can help continue to meet the needs of Street Medicine patients. Individuals interested in donating can visit towerhealth.org/RHFoundation, click "Make a Gift," and select "Street Medicine/Community Health" from the Gift Purpose drop down menu.
The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy's 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.
Media are invited to attend the event.
About Reading Hospital
Reading Hospital is the flagship, Magnet Recognized, acute care hospital of Tower Health. Located in West Reading, Pa., Reading Hospital is a 714-bed hospital that is home to many top-tier specialty care centers, including Reading HealthPlex, Tower Health Transplant Institute, McGlinn Cancer Institute, Miller Regional Heart Center, Emergency Department, Level I Trauma Center and Beginnings Maternity Center, which houses the region's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With more than 1,000 physicians and providers across 49 locations, Reading Hospital has been recognized for its quality outcomes and clinical expertise across services lines. It is listed as one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for five consecutive years and received a 5-Star Rating from CMS two years in a row. For more information, visit towerhealth.org.