DUNKIRK – A new medical office in Dunkirk is already looking for more help and has plans to expand.

The Chautauqua Center at 319 Central Ave. is currently hunting for another full-time physician. The center offers medical care to anyone, even those without insurance.

Rebecca Ruiz, outreach coordinator at the center, said the facility employs a sliding scale for those who have no insurance or have high-deductible insurance policies requiring out-of-pocket payments.

The new center is preparing to help people enroll in health insurance plans, too. Ruiz said the center has been designated a “navigation” location. She said she will help people enroll in health insurance when the new federal laws require everyone to have a policy this fall.

Open for only a short time, the center offers evening hours and will soon add Saturday times.

“I think the staff is the reason why people like the center,” said Dr. Michael Pease, chief executive officer of the center. He said that Spanish-speaking staff can help people with English language issues, and other staff are available to help people network and get services in the area.

Ruiz is already offering to visit the local Chautauqua Works office and other locations to talk to groups about health insurance coverage and the new guidelines. “We want to be a one-stop location,” she said. The center is currently working with some local pharmacies to help people find low-cost prescriptions.

“Down the road, we will offer specialists here in our office, too,” said Pease.

His immediate concern is to find a physician, or even two, who want to practice in a rural community. “We know there is someone out there who will appreciate our area,” Pease said.

The center also offers emergency walk-in appointments for patients who do not have a prior appointment but need to be seen.

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