In the late 1960s, many small towns in Northeastern Pennsylvania were facing the loss of medical care as an increasing number of physicians in rural communities were moving to or establishing their practices in our region’s cities and suburbs. Few were interested in a career as country doctors — solo practitioners, long working hours and no partners to share coverage. For many rural residents without transportation or insurance, accessing health care became a hardship. To meet the needs of the residents of the rural areas of Wyoming and Luzerne Counties for quality health care, concerned citizens and community leaders collaborated with the Federal Office of Health Affairs. In 1970, Rural Health Corporation was established, becoming part of a national network of community health centers. Between 1971 and 1979, five family practice health centers, 3 of which continue to also provide dental care, were established in the rural communities of Wyoming and Luzerne Counties. A sixth practice site specializing in pediatrics was also established during this period and pharmacy services were made available to our patients. Rural Health Corporation’s last expansion was to the center of Wilkes-Barre where in 1988 a special clinic was established to serve the area’s homeless.
Rural Health Corporation of NEPA receives HHS funding and has federal Public Health Service deemed status for itself and its covered employees.