WILKES-BARRE — In celebration of achieving full accreditation, attorney John Moses called The Commonwealth Medical College the “crown jewel” of the region’s health care delivery system.
Dr. Steven J. Scheinman, president and dean of TCMC, along with hospital presidents, members of TCMC’s Board of Trustees, regional deans, and the mayors of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport appeared at regional news conferences held in three separate locations, in including Wilkes-Barre General Hospital to announce the school has been awarded full accreditation by both the Liaison Committee for Medical Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Scheinman said earning full accreditation by the LCME took place over several years, beginning in 2009. Middle States’ accreditation also was a lengthy process, which began in 2009 with the designation of TCMC as a “candidate” college.
Both accrediting agencies concluded that the college’s finances were sustainable.
The news comes less than two months after TCMC graduated its second class of 66 students to receive the Doctor of Medicine degree, and its fifth class of 55 students to receive a Master of Bio-Medical Sciences degree.
Based in Scranton, the college opened five years ago after years of planning and is the only medical college in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Organizers viewed its establishment as an incentive to lure more doctors to establish practices in the region.
Moses, a member of the college’s founding board, said more than $1.7 billion leaves the region annually for health care services sought elsewhere.
“Maybe one day will come when nobody will leave this region for health care,” Moses said.
Added Scheinman: “This is an acknowledgement that the faith that this entire region has had in or college was justified. Critical to our success are our over 1,000 volunteer faculty and our 24 partner hospitals who make all of our students feel welcome and train them superbly. The accreditors recognized that this college was a unique and special place with extraordinary regional commitment.”
Moses, also chairman of the board of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, credited the “handful of giants” who helped bring the reality of a medical school to the region.
Moses talked about the struggles of establishing the school — struggles that go far beyond the bricks and mortar of the actual buildings. He said health care providers and insurers worked together to establish TCMC.
“This shows that if the people in our region plan, think and pray together, anything can happen,” Moses said.
Scheinman said more 79 of the incoming 100 class members are from Pennsylvania.
Scheinman also announced plans for a new mental health initiative. He said a $100,000 grant from the Weinberg Foundation to the Luzerne Foundation will be used to do a needs assessment of the region’s mental health services.