Geisinger Partners With Acadia Healthcare to Expand Behavioral Health Services

Geisinger and Acadia Healthcare Company have formed a joint venture to address the urgent need for expanded, high-quality inpatient behavioral health services in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. As part of the joint venture, two new freestanding inpatient behavioral health facilities will be constructed in Moosic and Danville with plans to serve adult and pediatric patients beginning in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Geisinger, which serves more than 1 million people across 45 counties in Pennsylvania, has partnered with Acadia Healthcare, the nation’s largest stand-alone behavioral healthcare company, to establish these new 96-bed, 73,000-square-foot facilities. Geisinger chose Acadia Healthcare, as its partner based on their shared commitment to quality care, strong clinical outcomes, and successful track record of collaborating with numerous premier health systems. Geisinger and Acadia will be investing a combined close to $80 million into these two facilities that together are expected to create approximately 200 new jobs by 2024.

“At Geisinger, we are setting out to make better health easier for the communities we serve,” said Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, Geisinger’s president and CEO. “This joint venture was a natural fit based on a shared commitment to identifying behavioral health needs in the community and partnering to bring world-class care close to home for everyone who needs it in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Both the Danville and Moosic locations are easily accessible from the entire central and northeastern Pennsylvania regions, and are near Geisinger hospitals in Danville, Scranton and Plains Township. Construction is scheduled to begin in Moosic in Fall 2021 and in Danville in 2022. The partnership will provide an opportunity for Geisinger to consolidate inpatient behavioral health programs from Geisinger Medical Center, Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger Community Medical Center into these new facilities, which will allow an opportunity for these vacated units to be repurposed for additional capacity, including expanded private room availability.

“Acadia is proud to be partnering with a leading health system like Geisinger to provide these life-saving services to individuals and families throughout central and northeast Pennsylvania,” said Debbie Osteen, Chief Executive Officer of Acadia Healthcare. “We look forward to collaborating with Geisinger to create these two state-of-the-art, patient-centered facilities that will provide hope and healing for those in need. The increased bed availability and freestanding structures will enable us to care for more patients who require these critical services and help meet the growing need for inpatient behavioral healthcare in these communities.”

A recently released 2020 Mental Health America Report estimates that 47 million Americans now struggle with mental health challenges, an increase of 4 million people since the 2018 report, which mirrors trends locally in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Upon completion, the two new inpatient behavioral health facilities will address current and future demand for adult, pediatric and adolescent patients who struggle with acute symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This vast array of acute behavioral health services provides a level of care previously not seen in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, especially for children and adolescents.

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NET Credit Union Makes Career Moves

Multiple Net Credit Union employees receive promotions.

Phil Zvirblis has been promoted to Branch Manager. After receiving a degree in Economics from Bloomsburg University, Phil has since spent the last decade working in the financial industry, most recently as a Loan Officer at NET. He will manage the branches with help from the Assistant Branch Managers.

Jessica Tonkin has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at our Olyphant location. Jessica graduated from Lackawanna College with a degree in Sports Management and minor in Business. She has over fourteen years’ experience with NET Credit Union, most recently being the temporary Assistant Branch Manager position, which she has done an exceptional job at the last six months.

Sean Thorpe has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at our Scranton location. After having received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Penn State University, Sean has since spent more than a decade working in financial institutions, most recently being a Senior Loan Officer at NET.

Lackawanna College and Johnson College Sign Articulation Agreement

Recently Lackawanna College and Johnson College signed an articulation agreement that gives Johnson College students the opportunity to transfer credits to Lackawanna College’s Bachelor of Science in Business program.

“Johnson College students already built a strong foundation through their learning experiences and will now be able to easily transfer into Lackawanna College’s Bachelor’s program to complete their degree,” said Dr. Jill A. Murray, Lackawanna College President. “Our business bachelor’s program allows students to stay local and earn their degree in a flexible and challenging program that will prepare them for careers.”

The bachelor’s degree in business at Lackawanna College prepares students for success in the business world with a diverse curriculum and a well-rounded education that produces career-ready graduates. Students can choose a marketing concentration or a lean entrepreneurship concentration to better hone their skills.

“Establishing this articulation agreement with Lackawanna College creates an opportunity for our students to build on the hands-on education they’ve already received and stack their credentials even more with a bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College. “This agreement strengthens the relationship between our two institutions and creates a more experienced workforce in our community.”

Bills Assisting Disabled Veterans, At-Risk Youth Pass House, Boback Says

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) announced the House passage of bills that would help support disabled veterans and at-risk youth in the Commonwealth.

The bills were previously approved by the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which Boback chairs.

“One piece of legislation will prevent veterans’ compensation benefits from being counted as income for state programs with income thresholds,” said Boback. “It seeks to offer help to those who have fought for and defended us, which is why I felt it was necessary to reintroduce and push for its passage. I am grateful for the continued support this legislation sees and am eager for its passage in the Senate.”

“I was also proud to promote Rep. Tim O’Neal’s (R-Washington) bill which aims to secure steady funding for the Keystone State Challenge Academy Account for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. This program provides structured educational opportunities for at-risk youth across the Commonwealth. As an educator, I am fully aware of the value programs like this offer our youth. I will continue to look for ways that will offer help to our veterans and our Pennsylvania National Guard,” Boback added.  

House Bill 491 amends Title 51 to exclude veterans’ compensation benefits from income calculations for Commonwealth programs. It provides that 100% of a veteran’s disability compensation/pension may not be included as income for any state program. It also extends the exclusion to an unmarried surviving spouse.

House Bill 803 establishes the Keystone State Challenge Academy Account as a restricted receipts account within the General Fund, which may include all monies deposited into the account from appropriations/transfers from the General Fund, private donations and federal funds and appropriated to the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on a continuing basis.

Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre Opens New Cardiology Clinic

Geisinger has opened a new cardiology clinic on the campus of Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre to make heart-care services more accessible to the community and better health easier for patients in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The newly renovated space at 50 Roosevelt Terrace offers pediatric and adult cardiology services, providing care for adult patients with congenital heart disease, and featuring noninvasive diagnostics like echocardiography and electrocardiography. Pediatric spaces were specifically designed to calm the youngest congenital-heart patients.

Staffed daily with cardiologists, advanced practitioners, sonographers and technicians to accommodate both pediatric and adult patients, the refinished clinic features a new echocardiography bed, electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) machine, and high-end blanketwarming

“We know patients have wanted a cardiology practice to come back to the South Wilkes-Barre community for some time, and we wanted to provide that service again,” said Kelly Austin, RN,
operations manager for the clinic. “This practice will increase appointments available to cardiology patients in Luzerne County and bring cardiology services closer to home for patients in or near South Wilkes-Barre.”

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Karen Lurito will lead pediatric cardiology services at the clinic, and she is passionate about expanding heart care in the northeast.

“In one place, you get a full spectrum of care. We have the ability to treat children with cardiovascular disease and continue that specialized care as they mature,” Lurito said, noting the importance of lifelong care for the growing number of patients who now live longer with congenital heart disease due to advancements in treatment.

Patients who need additional heart-care services can take advantage of the robust cardiology and congenital heart disease programs at Geisinger. For example, services in interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiac surgery, pediatric stress testing and metabolic stress testing are all available in the northeast at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. And pediatric and congenital heart surgery services are offered at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Systemwide, the congenital heart team has been strengthened recently with the addition of a surgeon with 30 years of experience to lead pediatric and adult congenital heart surgery and a certified registered nurse practitioner well-versed in building adult congenital heart disease programs. The team also features cardiologists who have achieved Adult Congenital Heart Disease board certification and can care for patients throughout their lives.

Care even extends to the maternal and fetal medicine clinic, where pediatric cardiologists will do echocardiography on fetuses.

“We will care for you from your prenatal days all the way through adulthood,” Lurito said.

Johnson College Offers Free College Readiness for STEM Occupations Program

Johnson College is offering a free eight-week College Readiness for STEM Occupations program for teenagers ages 14 to 18 years old, from low-income families, who live in Lackawanna County. The program starts Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and continues every Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for eight-weeks. The program includes dinner for students and transportation between Scranton High School and the Johnson College campus if needed. For eligibility requirements and to register, contact Dr. Kellyn Williams, Johnson College’s Chief Academic Officer at or 570-702-8940. This program is supported by a grant from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The College Readiness for STEM Occupations program includes presentations and hands-on discovery activities designed to increase awareness of career opportunities in the STEM workforce and to improve college-readiness skills. Participants are evaluated throughout the program based on attendance and discussion. The program will:

  • Increase awareness of STEM-related occupations.
  • Increase awareness of two-year options for post-secondary education.
  • Designed for all students, not just those who will pursue post-secondary education or careers in STEM or STEM-related fields.
  • Develop skills necessary for success in college and career.
  • Increase student potential for academic and personal success through knowledge of campus resources.

Students who complete the program with at least 80% attendance will receive college credit (a $550 value). To qualify for the college credit, students will be required to sign-in at each session to verify attendance.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit

The Wright Center for Community Health Names Two New Practice Managers

The Wright Center for Community Health recently promoted two longtime clinical employees to the leadership roles of Practice Managers.

Kimeth Robinson will lead The Wright Center’s Kingston Practice at 2 Sharpe Street. A graduate of McCann School of Business, Robinson joined The Wright Center in 2016 as a medical assistant. She most recently served as medical scribe for Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President/CEO of The Wright Center, and as Co-Manager of Medical Assistants, responsible for monitoring patient care quality and coordination as well as daily oversight of all medical assistants on staff. Robinson resides in Peckville.

Mary Georgetti will lead The Wright Center’s Wilkes-Barre Practice located inside the Children’s Service Center building at 335 South Franklin Street. A Wyoming Valley West High School graduate, Georgetti joined The Wright Center in 2011 as an administrative assistant. She most recently served as a practice coordinator for The Wright Center’s Luzerne County offices, maintaining physician schedules, electronic health records and community outreach. Georgetti resides in Plains Twp.

As Practice Managers, both Robinson and Georgetti will be responsible for the daily operations of their respective locations, including oversight of patient flow, staff and services. The Wilkes-Barre and Kingston practices are home to physicians and clinical staff who provide primary and preventive care for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, including routine check-ups, sick visits, behavioral/mental health, and addiction and recovery services.

“Kimeth and Mary have proven themselves as reliable leaders who each represent the very best of The Wright Center’s core values, as they are exceptional team players who strive for excellence in service to our communities every day,” said Kathleen Barry, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of The Wright Center.