It didn’t take long for Stevie Lynn Dorbad ’11, M.S.P.T., to return to her alma mater, Misericordia University. Three months after being one of four valedictorians in her graduating class, the Exeter native and Wyoming Area High School graduate returned to campus to be one of two professional clinicians to staff the new Passan Hall Physical Therapy Center on the lower campus.
The collaboration between NovaCare Rehabilitation and the Department of Physical Therapy at Misericordia University has created a professional clinic at 100 Lake St., Dallas Borough, which will provide additional clinical opportunities for MU students majoring in physical therapy, and an additional site for regional residents to receive standard and low-cost treatment for their ailments.
“I cannot explain how excited I am to be back and intimately involved with MU,’’ says Frank Serino, M.S.P.T., market manager of NovaCare Rehabilitation and a 1999 graduate of Misericordia. “We couldn’t have planned it any better having the three of us involved. I feel so comfortable there and excited not only to treat students, staff and community, but also we will be providing learning experiences for the students.
“We will be helping in their labs as well as having students spend time with us in clinic. It is very rewarding to be part of the team,’’ Serino adds.
The Passan Hall Physical Therapy Center is similar to any other rehabilitation center staffed by licensed clinicians. It will accept most major medical insurances, including Geisinger, Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and it will provide therapy for orthopedic conditions, sports injuries, workers’ compensation claims, neurological disorders, radiculopathy, gait dysfunction, stroke and more.
What separates the new clinic from others in the area is its dedication to providing care to those who cannot afford it, while also providing additional educational opportunities to Misericordia students. “I believe that people who truly need skilled services should not be denied because an insurance company or life circumstances do not provide them the opportunity,’’ says Serino, a Pittston Area High School graduate who is in charge of 12 NovaCare clinics from Philadelphia to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“No one should be denied medically necessary care because an insurance company does not approve due to the level of plan the patient has or the circumstances of the injury,’’ adds Serino, the son of Frank and Angeline Serino. “Insurances place more and more restrictions on care and pay less and less. This should not determine the care a person receives. Granted, we cannot do pure pro-bono work, but to be able to give to those truly in need is really nice and gives me a sense of gratification in our profession.’’
The Passan Hall Physical Therapy Center is the second low-cost clinic on campus. The Department of Speech-Language Pathology has been providing clinical opportunities to regional clients since 2003 in the Speech-Language and Hearing Center. To date, more than 2,500 people — 1,980 children and 520 adults — have been treated at the clinic by students and faculty members.
Misericordia’s latest endeavor to provide outreach to the community also provides a venue for former students to give back to the profession and to remain true to the tenets of MU by helping those most in need. The center’s chief clinicians, Dorbad and Joshua Hogan ’99, ’11, M.S.P.T., D.P.T., NovaCare Rehabilitation center manager, are excited by the opportunity to give back to MU and to people.
“I think this partnership will really benefit the local and campus communities as well as give the physical therapy students some great opportunities to experience real cases and learn some of the business aspects of clinic operation,’’ says Hogan, a Drums, Pa., resident and the son of Eugene and the late Marie Hogan. “I think it’s great that Misericordia students have this opportunity, really right on campus. I feel it will be beneficial for NovaCare, which is looking to grow in the area, as well as strengthening an already strong Misericordia PT program with opportunities that didn’t exist before.’’
“I don’t think you can pick a career in health care without wanting to help those in need,’’ adds the daughter of Susan Dorbad who is based primarily at the Orangeville, Pa., clinic NovaCare operates. “We realize just how important service is at Misericordia. It is instilled in us as we see the instructors and peers around us. It’s what lets us know there are people that truly care in the world. I’m grateful that I will be able to show it through work at the new clinic.’’
Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 32 academic majors on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.
Note from the Passan Hall Physical Therapy Center: For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Passan Hall Physical Therapy Center at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6230 or the NovaCare Rehabilitation Center in Plains Township, Pa., at (570) 825-7676. Walk-in appointments are also welcome.