Central Outreach Becomes Pillar in Community Health care: Annual Report | Pittsburgh City Paper

Central Outreach Becomes Pillar in Community Health care: Annual Report

In just its sixth year in business, Central Outreach Wellness has become a leader in Western Pennsylvania for culturally competent care, expanding while keeping their high level of quality for patients. Specializing in care for the LBBTQ+ and HIV(+) communities, Central Outreach’s Annual Report for 2021 shows how much help has been delivered to those communities through their work.

As always, Central Outreach’s main goal is providing top of the line care for underserved populations. They had 43,671 total patient appointments in 2021, including 4,105 new patients at their North Shore location, a 76.9% jump from 2020. Of these, they had 1,935 trans patients, with a majority being under 29, and 974 HIV(+) patients. 

This excellent care for underserved groups provided tangible results that impacted lives, all throughout 2021. With their STI screens always being completely free, Central Outreach provided 9,800 tests last year, including 4,400 at their North Shore location. Additionally, there were 2,216 patients on PrEP in 2021, in an attempt to provide prevention and care simultaneously.

2021 also saw further efforts from Central Outreach in preventative care in ways that made sense for patients. They offered health care options at home with PrEP2Me and HepCMyWay Powered by Central Outreach. Both services allowed people to fulfill their labs at home: for PrEP2Me, they could complete the at-home STD test kit themselves, and for HepCMyWay, an experienced phlebotomist was dispatched to their home to collect their blood samples. After a telemedicine visit with a clinician, PrEP or the Hep C cure would ship directly to the patient.

Obviously, the biggest health challenge over the past two years has been COVID-19, and 2021 brought the introduction of vaccines. Of course, Central Outreach was on the forefront of vaccine distribution. They pivoted towards a walk-in vaccine clinic, and ended up distributing 12,000 COVID Vaccines, including 1,600 to people who were not COWC patients. They also distributed to low-income areas and places where the vaccine would otherwise be tough to access, including senior high rises, latino and hispanic communities, and black communities in Beechview's Casa San Jose and the Hill District's Bedford Hill Apartments, respectively in Pittsburgh.

Of course, with 2020 came extreme change, and Central Outreach responded by expanding and facing these new challenges. This started with their Aliquippa Satellite office, which opened in December 2019. This office now sees 15% of all new patients. Additionally, Central Outreach has opened another new location to expand their reach, this time in Erie, PA.

2021 also saw growth and institutional successes that will continue into 2022. These included the opening of a new location in Cleveland, Ohio, upgrades to the Washington and North Shore locations, and two more outreach RVs. Central Outreach won Best Health Advocacy Group in the Pittsburgh City Paper’s Best Of Pittsburgh readers’ poll.

 Also, the Washington County Prison Board honored Central Outreach nurse practitioner Kathi Scholz for giving the COVID vaccine to 461 inmates and the Hep C cure to those who needed it. Lastly, Central Outreach clinician Dr. Marvin McGowan, D.O. became one of 1,700 Functional Medicine Certified Practitioners in the world.

All of these developments were exciting for Central Outreach, but most importantly they were necessary towards providing the care and compassion that its clients expect, and continue to expect heading into 2022.

Central Outreach Wellness Center.
•   127 Anderson St. Suite 101, North Shore   •   95 Leonard Ave Suite 203, Washington   •   2360 Hospital Drive Upper Suite 1, Aliquippa   •   3104 State Street, Erie