Oxford Borough OKs La Comunidad Hispana plans
By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Borough Council gave conditional-use approval to La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) to move plans forward for a medical office at 14 S. 3rd St. in the center of the business district. The property was formerly home to the Oxford Area Sewer Authority (OASA), and will now be utilized as a medical office with administrative support for primary care, family practice and pediatrics provided by primary care providers (medical doctors and nurse practitioners), behavior health services provided by licensed counselors and social workers, social assistance and community services, and domestic violence screening and interventions. It will also enable their clients to secure dental care at other locations in the LCH system.
These services are currently provided by LCH at their office located at 303 N. 3rd St. The new location will provide a larger space which will allow for growth, and that will also be more accessible to their patients and their needs.
Michael Malloy, the solicitor for LCH, explained the plans for the property. “We are seeking conditional use to use the first 35 feet for a medical center. In order to oppose a conditional use you would have to show that the use in that location poses unusual harm. LCH has entered into a lease with an entity that has an agreement-of-sale with the OASA. When conditional use is granted, then that entity will sign the agreement-of-sale with OASA. The entity that purchased the property will become the landlord to LCH.”
Malloy also told borough council that LCH was founded 40 years ago in Kennett Square by clergy and advocates to provide health care for mainly Latinos, and that they have decades of experience in health care management and health care facilities. They expanded to other locations beyond Kennett Square, including the location in Oxford that they have outgrown. Malloy also emphasized that many of the current clients come from the Oxford area, both in the Borough and outside it.
The new location will have eight exam rooms, a waiting room and reception office space, and more room for the LCH staff. The staff will include one full-time and two part-time primary doctors.
Steve Castallano, the director of business operations also told borough council that LCH plans to leave the Oxford sign on the building and will also be developing other signage for LCH, which will go through all proper channels. No exterior modifications are planned, only interior modifications.
Dr. Mariana Izraelson, chief executive officer of LCH, told council, “About 60 percent of the patients we see have no insurance. We help them with medication, and have a strong primary care program for children, adolescents and adults. We are excited about moving into this location. In 2019, we served about 1,300 clients at our Oxford location. We never turn anyone down for an inability to pay.”
Dr. Izraelson joined LCH in 2019. She brings years of clinical and executive experience in the medical outpatient setting. She has dedicated her professional career to providing high-quality public health prevention and intervention services to at-risk populations.
Borough council member Robert Ketcham asked if the building would allow for the expansion they need.
Dr. Izraelson, confirmed that it would. “We want to transition patients and function at the new location, then we will expand,” she said. “We would expect to expand to 2,500 patients, but would have enough room for 5,000 patients in a single year.”
Borough council president Peggy Russell confirmed that there would be no traffic stopping on S. 3rd Street, and that it would be contained to the parking lot and garage. LCH confirmed that they would be leasing 15 spaces for their staff and patients, but expected many patients would walk to the facility.
Hours of operation would mostly be during the weekdays, but there may also be some weekend hours, too.
There were no public comments offered during the meeting, but Russell did read a statement from Vernon and Edienne Ringler, who own property in the borough. The Ringlers expressed the view that, while they had no problem with LCH locating there, they did feel the property would be better utilized for retail.
Borough Council unanimously approved the conditional use for LCH and welcomed them to Oxford. Borough. Stacey Fuller, the borough solicitor, reminded council that there was an audio recording of the meeting, and they have the official transcript prepared by the court reporter.