Lehigh Valley Health Network continues to expand into Carbon County.
Next week, it will open its first of two ExpressCARE facilities in the area. It will be located on North First Street in Lehighton.
"When you're sick and you need treatment, why would you want to drive a half hour when you're 10 minutes from here?" said Courtney Mease, a medical assistant at the Lehighton ExpressCARE.
For Mease, LVHN's new ExpressCARE is a chance to help others in the town she grew up in.
"I live two minutes away, I've lived here in Lehighton for about 15 years now,"
The North First Street facility is the network's latest jump into Carbon County.
"Carbon County has a significant issue with access to primary care physicians. There's a severe shortage throughout the United States," said Terry Purcell, president of Lehigh Valley Hospital--Carbon, the Mahoning Township hospital LVHN will break ground on next spring..
ExpressCARE will give residents access to medical treatment for minor injuries and common illnesses with no appointment necessary.
"Sprained ankles, bee stings, simple cuts and lacerations, runny noses, coughs, allergies," said Grant Greenberg, MD, chair of LVHN's Department of Family Medicine.
Patients will also be able to stop in for x-rays.
"We do see a lot of patients that need to get x-rays done, things like that, but then they have to travel to Cedar Crest and it just makes sense to be able to have an ExpressCARE here," said Mease.
Officials call the Lehighton ExpressCARE unique, as it will partner with the facility's existing primary care physician.
"If it's a Saturday and the family medicine office is not open, they can see someone in the usual place they get care, with a partner who has a relationship with their regular physician," said Greenberg.
Doctors say that's something that makes a difference to patients.
"Having someone who knows you, who you trust, who has a relationship with the people you trust is different than just seeing somebody somewhere randomly," said Greenberg.
"What's nice is we're bringing the care closer to home for area residents," added Purcell.
The Lehighton ExpressCARE will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Tuesday, September 3rd.
The second location will open in downtown Palmerton later this fall.