EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was at a ribbon cutting Monday for a new primary care clinic in East Palestine.
The new health clinic is located at 139 N. Walnut Street. It’s operated by East Liverpool city Hospital with help from the Ohio Department of Health.
This clinic is different from the clinics temporarily set up following the derailment because now healthcare providers can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions at this facility. The temporary clinics would refer patients for care.
The clinic will also treat anyone of any age, regardless of where they live or if their symptoms are tied to train derailment.
“We need to see what the need is, and we’re are willing to adapt to whatever the need is,” said Dr. Gretchen NIckell, chief medical officer at East Liverpool City Hospital.
DeWine said one of the key goals of the facility is to offer treatment and information to the hundreds of first responders who raced to East Palestine the night of the derailment. Fire Chief Keth Brabick says none of his people have been sickened yet by what they were exposed to but providers at the clinic will be able to establish baseline records now to help treat problems in the future.
“Mike it so we can get all the first responders, police, fire, EMS, all of them here and start that process and have it an ongoing process for many years to come,” Drabick said.
Tax dollars through the Department of Health will underwrite expenses, initially, but Norfolk Southern is expected to support the clinic.
“We are certainly going to ask the railroad for that reimbursement just as we have asked them for reimbursement for other things as well,” DeWine said.
The clinic opened to patients Monday afternoon. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are needed and be made by calling 330-383-6020.